There are many things you can do to reduce the risks of your children being targeted by a sexual predator.
Reduce the Risk:
As a concerned and protective parent, educate yourself about the facts related to sexual abuse.
• Abusers often try to earn the trust of potential victims and their families. This enables them to more easily gain time alone with the children. Abusers are drawn to settings where they can easily gain access to children: schools, sports leagues, clubs, etc.
• More than 80 percent of sexual abuse cases happen in one-adult/one-child situations. Think carefully before leaving your child alone with one adult. If possible, seek out group situations instead. If you can’t avoid leaving your child in a one-adult/one-child situation, drop in unexpectedly.
• Know the adults that your children come into contact with regularly since a sexual abuser could be among them. Ask questions about your children’s nanny’s teachers, counselors and coaches if you have any concerns.
• Monitor your children’s internet use. Abusers may use the internet as a tool to interact privately with children, with the ultimate goal of luring children into physical contact.
Communicate openly with you
• Open, honest communication may be the best sexual abuse prevention tip. Communication, early and often, about sex and sexual abuse may decrease your child’s vulnerability to abuse and increase the chance they will tell you if they are abused.
• Always talk to your children about their daily activities. Show interest in their feelings. Encourage them to share their concerns and problems with you. Stay in close touch with your child so you will be aware if something changes in his or her life.
• Teach your children about the body, what abuse is, and about sex. Teach them words that will help them feel comfortable discussing sex with you.
• Explain that no one has the right to touch them in a way that makes them uncomfortable, including adults whom they know and trust. Explain that it is okay to set limits on others who overstep boundaries.
• Teach your children that it’s your job to protect them, and that you can protect them only if they tell you when something is wrong.
Explain that people who hurt children may tell the children to keep it a secret. They may tell the children their parents will not believe them.
They might threaten to hurt the parents if the child shares the secret. Teach your children that adults who say that are wrong, and that your children can share anything with you.
• Understand how children communicate. Children may communicate in a roundabout way by saying something such as, “I don’t like to be alone with Mr. Jones.” They may tell parts of what happened or pretend it happened to someone else to test an adult’s reaction.
• Children who do disclose abuse may tell an adult other than a parent.
• If adults respond emotionally or negatively to a disclosure, children will stop talking.