Child Sexual Abuse: Ten Ways to Protect Your Kids

With recent publicity on sexual abuse allegations, now is the time to
talk about things thatparents can do to reduce the risk of their
children being assaulted.

People are beginning to understand and talk about how sex offenders
can be a friend or a family member. The Penn State and Syracuse scandals
have broken our denial about how famous, powerful, and revered people
cannot possibly be offenders.

Now that we are more aware of the problem as a society, we need to
take steps to protect children from further abuse. With this in mind,
here are ten practical ways to protect your children from predators.

1) Encourage Your Kids To Talk To You About Their Day. Children
cannot be expected to understand when it is okay to say “no” to or run
away from an adult. This would be too confusing. Instead, build trust by
regularly talking to them about their day. Make them feel comfortable
raising any topic. Then, if your kids report any unacceptable behavior
by others to you, it is your responsibility to take action.

2) Become Educated On Sexual Abuse.  Did you know 1 out of 6 girls
will be molested by the age of 18? Did you know that the typical sexual
predator will assault 117 times before being caught? Get familiar with
the facts. It is vital for you to educate yourself about sexual abuse. A
good place to start is the Center For Sex Management website.

3) Look For “Red Flags.” Sex offenders often “groom” parents and
children to gain their trust.  They can be very slick and fool you into
thinking they are trustworthy, but there is always a “red flag” that is
just a little bit unusual. For instance, if an adult has many toys and
video games in his house and several local kids go there every day, this
is a possible red flag. If he doesn’t seem to have any adult friends or
activities, this is a bigger red flag. Check this person out. Have a
conversation with him, if possible. If he is on the sex offender
registry, report him to the authorities.

4) Know Where Your Children Are And Who They Are With At All
Times.  Know your children’s friends and their parents.  Make sure they
are reliable before you allow your child to spend time at their house.

5) Make Sure There Is More Than One Chaperone For Groups Of Youth.
There should always be more than one adult with any group of
children.  Offer to chaperone activities for youth. Get to know other
chaperones well. Adults should confront any suspicious activity of
another adult. Don’t just let it slide.  It’s difficult, but these
things need to be discussed openly.  Secrecy and difficulty talking
about these topics are a sex offender’s best friends.

6) Teach Children That The Danger May Come From Someone They
Trust.  Tell your kids, “Bad touch is bad touch and no one gets to do it
to our bodies. If anyone does bad touch, you go to a grown up for
help. When you are not sure about whether something a grown up is doing
is okay, ask another grown up to help you.”

7) Find Therapy For Victims.  All victims of sexual abuse should have
easy access to therapy. School based mental health programs can make
therapists more readily available to students when they are troubled.

8) Understand The Signs. Abuse is not usually as obvious as broken
bones or bruises. Adults should be knowledgeable about the signs that
children are in need of counseling. These signs might be significant
changes in sleeping, eating, mood, or strange behavior that does not
quickly go away.

9) Take Action If You Suspect Abuse.  If you suspect that your kids
have been abused, you need to contact the Police or Department of Social
Services in the county where you live. These departments will
investigate the alleged abuse and take the proper action. Citizens
should not conduct their own investigations.

10) Support Research. We must continue to research prevention,
assessment, and effective treatment of victims and offenders.  Those
treating victims and sex offenders must be appropriately trained in the
most up-to-date methods.  Only then will there be “NO MORE VICTIMS” or
quick recovery for survivors. Support sex offender research, training,
and management by raising the issue in your community and by calling
your legislators. Make it known that you care.

Please share this Article on your Facebook. and give your feedback below. I will respond to your comments!

–Dr. Kathy Seifert

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