Together we can work towards preventing child sexual abuse
Keep Kids Safe works with experts around the country to provide helpful information to parents of sexually abused children. In an effort to make a difference, we also work towards preventing child sexual abuse through education, awareness, and advocacy.
The Danger Isn’t Just Strangers
As many as 88% of all childhood sex abuse crimes occur with a person that has already established a close relationship with the child.
It could be a family member or family friend, or an adult in a position of authority. Often the person you would least expect may be a pillar of your community or in a position of trust like a teacher, youth athletic coach, youth group leader, or clergy member.
Children who are abused by someone they know are placed in an even more difficult position as to who they can tell and who might not believe them.
For parents, that knowledge should mean that preventing child sexual abuse means taking more responsibility for awareness and creating a comfortable environment in which your child can talk.
Convicted sex offenders tell us that we are much more naïve than we should be when protecting our children. Primarily because we worry more about strangers than those who are right under our nose.
Reducing the Risk
Predators are cunning and will go to extreme lengths to gain access to children and ensure secrecy by grooming their victims. Parents can’t depend on the idea of a “creepy stranger” to set of internal alarms.
Instead, look for ways to lower the risk of sexual abuse for children by reducing the time they spend alone with other adults:
- Understand that abusers often become friendly with potential victims and their families, enjoying family activities, earning trust, and gaining time alone with children.
- Think carefully about the safety of one-adult/ one-child situations, and choose group settings when possible.
- Make sure older children are not left unsupervised, with access to younger children. Ensure there are multiple adults present.
- Set an example by personally avoiding one-adult/ one-child situations with any children other than your own.
Don’t Turn Away—Get Involved
It takes a community to be vigilant in watching out for sexual predators. When we see something between an adult and a child that makes us uncomfortable, we must never, never turn away.
Many people want to believe they didn’t really see something inappropriate as it is very difficult for bystanders to get involved. We fear embarrassment, making the situation worse, becoming a target or wrongfully accusing someone.
None of these are valid excuses when a child’s future is at stake. We must learn to recognize abusers as well as the signs of abuse. Don’t overlook family members and close friends—as much as you might want to—and make it safe for your children to tell you absolutely anything. And when they do tell you, believe them.
Learn How to Protect Your Children
The best offense in preventing child sexual abuse is a good defense. Teach your children early on that it is allowable and appropriate for them to say “no” when an adult is touching them in such a way they feel uncomfortable.
Stay involved with your children’s extracurricular activities instead of always dropping them off. Keep open lines of communication with your children by listening to them throughout their lives. Put specific safety protocols in place for older children regarding Internet access. Make it a priority to protect not only your children, but all children.