Let’s Keep Kids Safe From Sexual Abuse
We know that most incidents of child sexual abuse occur by someone the child knows and trusts. This might be a sibling, parent, caregiver or other trusted child or adult in their life. With the vast majority of our population now isolating themselves and families at home, at-risk children and youth are at greater risk. According to research, 1 in 10 Canadians reported being sexually victimized before they turned 18. This number reflects only 7% of the cases since 93% of child sexual abuse cases are never reported – that’s alarming!
Here’s how you can reduce the risks:
- Educate yourself so that you fully understand the risks and situations this kind of violence occurs. We like some of the resources Canadian Centre for Child Protection has made available.
- Pay attention to how children are interacting with each other and adults in their life and don’t ignore warning signs or that uncomfortable feeling we call instinct.
- Talk about body parts early on in an age-appropriate way. Teach them the correct names and purpose of each part.
- Teach children that some body parts are very private. They need to know that these special parts belong to them and are not for others to see or touch. They should know it’s ok if the doctor sees them and may sometimes need to touch but a parent would be with them if that is the case.
- Teach about boundaries. Children need to know that no one should be asking to see or touch their parts and if they do, they should say no and tell someone. Again, unless it is medically necessary.
- Body secrets are not ok. Most abusers will tell a child that what they are asking to do or doing is a secret. Children need to learn what a good secret is (like a birthday gift) and bad secrets which might hurt them (sexual touching).
- No pictures or videos should ever be taken of their private body parts.
- Teach your child how to get out of uncomfortable situations that do not seem right to them. They should know it’s ok to tell an adult and leave the area to a place they feel safe.
- Tell them they will never get in trouble if they tell you about any of the above.
- They should know that secret touching of their private body parts may tickle or feel good. That is a normal function of that body part. They should still try to stop the touching if they can, and tell you about it.
- The rules apply to every person in their life. A child needs to know if their sibling, friend, uncle, neighbour, parent, teacher and so, ever touch them in their private parts, they need to tell you.Teaching children about their private bodies is a parents job, protecting and reporting any form of child abuse is everyone’s responsibility.
Written by Sherry Slejska, CM
Mental Health Advocate and Communicator
Please consider making a donation to help The Gatehouse
The Gatehouse, a community based charitable organization that provides much-needed support, resources, and community to survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Survivors of sexual abuse are in desperate need of our support and services and The Gatehouse relies on the generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to fund and expand our creative programs including peer support groups, art therapy, wellness workshops, conferences, and the investigation support program.
You can donate one time or donate monthly. Your donation helps to transform the lives of those victimized by childhood sexual abuse.
Use the form below donate. Thank you for your support.