Child Sexual Abuse: How to Reduce Risks

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Child Sexual Abuse: It is Your Business provides the following helpful tips for parents to reduce the risks of child sexual abuse.

The tips include:

  • Teach your child about personal safety. Visit kidsintheknow.ca for more information.
  • Learn about online risks to children and youth. Visit the doorthatsnotlocked.ca for more information.
  • Be involved in your child’s life. Attend her/his activities and pay attention to the interactions between the adults and the children.
  • Be vigilant of situations and behaviours that seem to be strange or present risk.
  • Screen and chec k child protection policies at organizations and activities that your child attends. Visit commit2kids.ca for more information.
  • Supervise your child. Know her/his whereabouts.
  • Accompany your child to public areas (i.e. washrooms, stores, etc.) and to extracurricular activities.
  • Communicate with your child and create opportunities for her/him to share her/his feelings/stories/opinions/ perspective with you.
  • Use the correct terms for body parts when talking with your child. Explain to your child that it is not okay for anybody to touch her/his private parts and that secrets about touching are not okay (“unsafe” can be used with children 6 years of age and older). Encourage her/him to always tell you about any touching or secrets that are not okay/unsafe.
  • Model appropriate boundaries between adults and children. Discuss with your child the role of adults (i.e. to protect and look out for the best interests of a child).
  • Pay attention and report adults who repeatedly break boundaries and engage in inappropriate behaviour with children.
  • Be emotionally available for your child. Let her/him know that you notice if s/he is “out of sorts,” or not her/himself. Ask the question, “Is there anything I can help you with?” Let your child know that you are available when s/he is ready to talk.
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Thanks for your post Rachel - teaching our children personal safety is so, so important in today's world where the risk of abuse is high. The two websites listed 'kids in the know' and 'door that's not locked' provide excellent resources for families who are concerned with protecting their children from abuse.

Churches must also do their part; in collaboration with other community partners, churches have an important role to play in the protection of children. That's why Safe Church is promoting Circle of Grace. It helps our children understand that all people are created in the image of their creator, and live always in God's loving presence in their circle of grace. It affirms the sacredness of all relationships, and gives deeper reasons for treating one another with dignity and respect. This is something that secular programs cannot do, this message must come from the church.

Thanks, Bonnie! Yes Circle of Grace is an excellent curriculum! Check it out on the Safe Church Ministry website http://www.crcna.org/SafeChurch/education-best-prevention.