Child sexual abuse is an on-going, pernicious problem in our society, but parents are not helpless. This section of the Coalition for Children website will walk you through key things you need to know to understand and help prevent child sexual abuse. Follow the links after the introduction to learn more.
Parents, schools, and organizations can use all the avoidance technology at their disposal, but experience tells us that we are almost always surprised to discover perpetrators in our midst. In addition, a substantial percentage of child abuse happens at the hands of parents. We cannot expect children of these parents to receive adequate prevention messages at home.
Prevention of child abuse can be taught without talking about abuse. Children don’t need to be told what abuse is, who the offenders are, how they operate, what they do, or why. They don’t need to be told that the people they love might hurt them. Rather, we can deal with prevention positively and concretely, giving children the skills they need to act effectively on their own behalf when they are in a potentially abusive situation.
There are times when children can and must be responsible for their own well-being, such as when they are alone with a potential abuser. At such times, they need permission to speak up. They need specific techniques to stop what’s being done to them. And, they must know they will be believed and supported by the adults in their lives. The best overall defense children have against abuse is:
- a sense of their own abilities,
- the ability to accurately assess and handle a variety of situations,
- knowing where and how to get help, and. knowing they will be believed.
Children have a right to be safe without being afraid and children who have been taught to think for themselves are the safest children of all.