Tips for Preventing and Identifying Child Sexual Abuse...
Parent Tips for Preventing and
Identifying Child Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse is a difficult subject for most
people to discuss, and especially difficult for parents to discuss with their
children. But as frightening as the topic may be, sexual abuse is a serious and,
unfortunately, common problem that affects both boys and girls. In most cases,
the person who sexually abuses a child is an adult or older child known to the
victim, often an authority figure that the child knows, trusts or loves. The
offender usually uses coercion and manipulation, not physical force, to engage
What parents should know about child sexual abuse:
are known to the child; they may be family members, relatives, friends,
teachers, coaches, babysitters, and others in positions of authority.
susceptible to sexual abuse have obedient, compliant and respectful
personalities. They may be children from unhappy or broken homes, as these
youngsters may be eager for attention and affection.
are victims of sexual abuse can display many or few behavioral symptoms. They
may withdraw from family or friends, display poor school performance,
experience depression, anxiety, or exhibit aggressive and self-destructive
behavior. Or they may not display any outward abnormal behavior.
abuse often involves more than a single incident, and can go on for months or
includes any kind of sexual act or behavior with a child, and includes
activities involving genital contact as well as non-contact events- such as
showing pornographic images to children, taking pornographic photographs of a
Tips that can minimize your child’s risk of molestation:
childhood, parents can teach their children the name of the genitals, just as
they teach their child names of other body parts. This teaches that the
genitals, while private, are not so private that you can’t talk about them.
teach young children about the privacy of body parts, and that no one has the
right to touch their bodies if they don’t want that to happen. Children should
also learn to respect the right to privacy of other people.
early and often that there are no secrets between children and their parents,
and that they should feel comfortable talking with their parent about anything
-- good or bad, fun or sad, easy or difficult.
Be aware of
adults who offer children special gifts or toys, or adults who want to take
your child on a “special outing” or to special events.
child in daycare and other programs that have a parent “open door” policy.
Monitor and participate in activities whenever possible.
age, create an environment at home in which sexual topics can be discussed
comfortably. Use news items and publicized reports of child sexual abuse to
start discussions of safety, and reiterate that children should always tell a
parent about anyone who is taking advantage of them sexually.
If your child
discloses any history of sexual abuse, listen carefully, and take his or her
disclosure seriously. Too often, children are not believed, particularly if
they implicate a family member as the perpetrator. Contact your pediatrician,
the local child protection service agency, or the police. If you don’t
intervene, the abuse might continue, and the child may come to believe that
home is not safe and that you are not available to help.
child and let him or her know that he or she is not responsible for the abuse.
child to a physician for a medical examination, to ensure that the child’s
physical health has not been affected by the abuse.
If you have concerns that
your child may be a victim of sexual abuse, you should talk with your
pediatrician. Your physician can discuss your concerns, examine your child, and
make necessary referrals and reports.
and their families will also need professional counseling to help them through
this ordeal, and your pediatrician can refer you to community resources for