How to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse
Certainly, the sexual abuse of children needs to be stopped before it happens. To truly prevent child abuse, we need to create a society that respects children, protects them from harm, and shows them how to treat others in a positive and non-exploitive manner.
To support prevention, we can each:
What can a community do to prevent and treat sexual abuse?
Community members can advocate for well-trained protective services and police, public awareness campaigns about the causes and consequences of child sexual abuse, and adequate treatment programs both for those who have survived and for those who have commited child sexual abuse. Community members can also make a commitment to report any suspected incidents of abuse or neglect.
Source: Basic Facts about Child Sexual Abuse, Prevent Child Abuse America.
What You Can Do
If you suspect child sexual abuse, this may be a perfect opportunity to stop the abuse before it occurs.
Disclosure and Your Response
If you have a feeling that sexual abuse may be occurring, what can you do?
Step One: Stay calm and ask gentle questions. In a gentle voice find out what happened. Remember to stay calm and ask simple and direct questions – know that confusion, guilt, and shame of the abuse can create fear for the child. Do not try to conduct an investigation. Trained professionals can talk to the child in a non-threatening way.
Step Two: Listen to the child. Listen to what the child is saying to you and listen to what is not said as well. Simple statements such as “I don’t like that babysitter to come over” or “Don’t leave me alone with those little kids” should be discussed further. If the child does not give you names, places or dates, do not suggest any.
Step Three: Reassure the child. Tell the child you believe him or her and you will do whatever you can to keep them safe. However, do not make promises that you cannot keep. The child may not tell you anything the first time. When they do talk to you, tell them they were brave to let you know what was going on and that you will be getting them help.
Step Four: Seek help. If the child was abused or may be abusing, there is help and support available through your regional Human Service Center.
Step Five: Make a report. To report suspected child abuse, contact your County Social Services office or law enforcement.
Source: Do Children Sexually Abuse Other Children? Talking With Your Children about Child Sexual Abuse, STOP IT NOW!
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