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6/3/2016

7WaystoPreventChildAbuseKidsFirstChildAbuseTreatmentandPreventionCenter

7WaystoPreventChildAbuse
Theburdenofpreventionhasbeenrestingforyearsonthe
smallestshouldersinoursociety:thechildrenwhoaremostvulnerable,
leastpowerful,andleastlikelytobeabletoprotectthemselvesfroma
powerfuladult.Thisisespeciallytruewhenconsideringthatthemajorityof IN T H IS S E C T ION
sexualabuse(93%)happensatthehandsofanadultwellknowntothechild.
Whenchildrenareabusedbyadultstheyarealsoconfusedbythefactthat
InternetSafety
thispersonissupposedtobeaprotector,acaretaker,andworthyoftrust
ProfileofaPredator
simplybybeinganadult(afterall,wealsoteachchildrentoobeyadults,
SexOffenderRegistry
whichcanbeveryconfusing).Childabusersareveryoften"experts"at
Links
emotionalmanipulationofchildren,gainingtheirtrustwellinadvanceofthe 7WaystoPreventChildAbuse
actualabuse.Inlightofthesefacts(andmanyothers),itisclearthatthetime Parenting
InternetSafetyTipsforParents
hascomeforadultstoassumeresponsibilityforprotectingchildren.Their
ThreatsorHarassment
shoulderswerenotbuiltforcarryingsuchweight.

HowtoTalktoYoungChildrenAbout

Thefollowingfactsandthe"7StepstoProtectingOurChildrenFrom BodySafety
SexualAbuse"aredirectlyquotedherewiththepermissionofthe
nonprofitorganizationFromDarknesstoLight.Thisisaninvaluable
S IGN U PTOD AY !
resourcethatiswellworth"bookmarking."
S T E P1:

"Learnthefactsandunderstandtherisks.Realitiesnottrustshould
influenceyourdecisionsregardingyourchild."

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1in4girlsand1in6boyswillhavebeensexuallyabusedbytheireighteenthbirthday.
Considerthisthenexttimeyouwalkthroughamallordownastreetandseeseveral EmailMarketingbyVerticalResponse
ormanychildren.Wheneveryouenteraclassroomorballgame,lookaroundanddo
themath.Itisasadreality...butonewecanhaveapositiveeffecton.
Only1in10childrenreportstheabusethemselves.Thosechildrenwhokeepthe
abuseasecretorwhotellandarenotbelievedarefarmorelikelytosuffer
JU S T GIV E
psychological,emotional,social,and/orphysicalproblemsthatwillmostlikelyfollow
themintoadulthood.
22%ofabusedchildrenareunder8yearsold.
Theaverageageofabusedchildrenis9.

Mostlikely,youknowachildwhoeitherhasbeenorisbeingabused.
Itisalsolikelythatyouknowanabuser!Mostarenot
"strangers,"butareourfriendsandfamilymembers.
34%ofvictimsareabusedbyfamilymembers.
59%areabusedbypeoplethefamilyjudgestobetrustworthy.Infact,itisacommon
tacticofabuserstofirstestablishatrustingrelationshipwiththeparentsofthechild.
Manyyoungchildrenareabusedbylarger,olderchildren.
Thosewhoabusechildrenhavenocharacteristicsthat"setthemapart"forusto
identifythemasabusers.Theylookandactjustlikeusandgooutoftheirwayto

appeartrustworthy.
Thosewhosexuallyabusechildrenaredrawntoplaceswheretheywillhaveeasy
accesstochildren(andareoftenthosewejudgetobe"wonderful"withchildren)such
assportsleagues,faithcenters,clubs,andschools.Itisimportanttobesurethatthe
clubs,leagues,etc.,whereyourchildisinvolvedhasapolicyaboutdoingbackground
checksonitsvolunteers.
S T E P2:
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MinimizeOpportunity"Ifyoueliminateorreduceoneadult/onechild
situations,youwilldramaticallylowertheriskofsexualabuseforyourchild."
Rememberthatabusersoftenbefriendthechildandthechild'sfamilyinordertogain
theirtrust.
Alwayslookforgroupsituationstoinvolveyourchildinratherthanplacingyourchild
alonewithoneadult.
Stronglyencouragepolicieslimitingoneadult/onechildsituationsinallyouthrelated
activitiessuchasfaithgroups,sportsteams,andschoolclubs.Makesure
parents/caregiverscanobserveorinterruptactivitiesatanytime.Alsomakesurethat
backgroundcheckshavebeendoneonallvolunteersandothersworkingdirectlywith
children.
Insistthatpersonnel(paidandvolunteer)receivequalitytrainingonprevention,
recognition,andreportingofchildabuse.
Dropinunexpectedlywhenyourchildisalonewithanyadult!
Monitoryourchild'sinternetuse.Theinternethasbecomeafavoritemeansfor
pedophilestointeractprivatelywithchildren.Theirgoalistolurethemintophysical
contactaftergainingtheirtrust.
Setanexamplebypersonallyavoidingoneadult/onechildsituationswithchildren
otherthanyourown.
S T E P3:

TalkAboutItChildrenoftenkeepabuseasecret,butbarrierscanbebroken
downbytalkingopenlyaboutit.
It'sVERYIMPORTANTtounderstandwhychildrendon'ttell.
Childrenareafraidofdisappointingtheirparents.
Childrenareafraidofdisruptingthefamily.
Theabusersometimesthreatensthechildorafamilymember.
Theabusershamesthechild,pointsoutthats/heletithappen,ortellsherorhim
thattheirparentswillbeangry.
Somechildrenwhodidnotinitiallydiscloseabuseareafraidorashamedtotellwhen
ithappensagain.
Somechildrenaretooyoungtounderstand.Manyabuserstellchildrentheabuseis
"okay"ora"game."

Knowhowchildrencommunicate.
Childrenwhododisclosesexualabuseoftentellatrustedadultotherthanaparent.
Therefore,trainingforpeoplewhoworkwithchildreninanycapacityisvery
important.
Childrenmaytell"parts"ofwhathappenedorpretendithappenedtosomeoneelseto
gaugeadultreaction.
Childrenwilloften"shutdown"andrefusetotellmoreifyourespondemotionallyor
negatively.
Ifyourchilddoesnottalktoyou,don'tthinkit'sasignofpoorparenting.

Talkopenlywithyourchild.
Teachyourchildthatitisyourjobtoprotecthim.
Teachyourchildthatitisnotherresponsibilitytoprotectothers.
Demonstratedailythatyouwillnotbeangry,nomatterwhatyourchildtellsyou
aboutanyaspectofhislife.
Listenquietly.Childrenhaveahardtimetellingparentsabouttroublingevents.
Teachyourchildaboutherbody,aboutwhatabuseisand,asageappropriate,about
sex.Teachherwordsthathelpherdiscusssexcomfortablywithyou.
Teachyourchildthatitisagainstthe"rules"foradultstoactinasexualwaywith
childrenanduseexamples.
Startearlyandtalkoften.Useeverydayopportunitiestotalkaboutsexualabuse.
S T E P4 :

StayAlertDon'texpectobvioussignswhenachildisbeingsexuallyabused.
Signsareoftentherebutyouhavetospotthem.
Learnthesigns.
Physicalsignsofsexualabusearenotcommon,althoughredness,rashes,orswelling
inthegenitalarea,urinarytractinfections,orothersuchsymptomsshouldbe
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carefullyinvestigated.Also,physicalproblemsassociatedwithanxiety,suchaschronic
stomachpainorheadaches,mayoccur.
Emotionalorbehavioralsignalsaremorecommon.Thesecanrunfrom"tooperfect"
behavior,towithdrawalanddepression,tounexplainedangerandrebellion.
Sexualbehaviorandlanguagethatarenotageappropriatecanbearedflag.
Beawarethatinsomechildrentherearenosignswhatsoever.

Ifyoufindphysicalsignsthatyoususpectassexualabuse,havethechild
physicallyexaminedimmediatelybyaprofessionalwhospecializesinchild
sexualabuse.Note:IfyouliveoutsidetheareaservedbyKidsFirst,Inc.,call
usforaCACinyourareaorcalltheNationalChildren'sAllianceat1800
2399950.
S T E P5 :

MakeaPlanLearnwheretogo,whotocall,andhowtoreact.
Don'toverreact.Justasyoustaycalmwhenyourchildbreaksanarm
andfollowaplanyou'vemadeinadvanceforsuchemergencies,staycalm
andfollowaplanifyourchildreportsabuse.
Ifyoureactwithangerordisbelief,theresponsefromthechildmaybethe
following:
Thechildshutsdown.
Thechildchangeshisstoryinthefaceofyourangeranddisbelief,when,infact,
abusemayactuallybeoccurring.
Thechildchangeshisaccountaroundyourquestionssofuturetellingsappeartobe
"coached."Thiscanbeveryharmfulifthecasegoestocourt.
Thechildfeelsevenmoreguilty.

Note:VERYfewreportedincidentsarefalse.
Offersupport.It'sveryimportanttothinkthroughyouremotional
responsebeforeyou'reinapositionwhereyoususpectabuse.Hopefully,
you'llneverneedtousetheskills,butyouwillbepreparedtorespondina
supportivewayiftheneedarises.
Believethechildandmakesureheknowsit.
Don'taskquestions.Thiscouldbeconfusingtothechild,makeherupset,andcould
damagecriminalprosecutionoftheoffender.
Assurethechildthatit'syourjobtoprotecthimandthatyou'lldoeverythingyoucan
forhim.
Reportinallcasesofsuspectedabuse,whetherinsideoroutsidethefamily.The
child'ssafetyismuchmoreimportantthananyemotionalconflictyoumayhaveto
face.Remember:youaretheadult.
Don'tpanic.Sexuallyabusedchildrenwhoreceivepsychologicalhelpcananddoheal.

Remember:NorthCarolinaisamandatoryreportingstate.Actonsuspicions
andreport.Iftheabuseisoutsideofthefamily,reporttothepoliceor
sheriff'sdepartment.Iftheabusehappenedwithinthefamily,reporttothe
DepartmentofSocialServices.
S T E P6 :

ActonSuspicions.Achild'swellbeingmaydependonit.
Ifyouareinasituationwhereyoususpectabusebutdonothaveanyproof,
youmaybereluctanttoreport.Manyofusdonottrustour"gut"feelings,
eventhoughtheyaremostoftenright.Achildcannotaffordforyoutotake
thechancethatitiswrong.Ifyouarestillreluctant,pleasecalloneofthe
following:
KidsFirst,Inc.withinthe7countiesweserve.
TheNationalChildren'sAllianceat18002399950foraCACinyourarea(orvisit
theirwebsite,listedonourlinkspage).
FromDarknesstoLightat18663675444.
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ChildhelpUSAChildAbuseHotlineat18004224453.
S T E P7 :

Getinvolved.
Volunteerandfinanciallysupportorganizationsthatfightthetragedyof
abuse:
YourlocalChildAdvocacyCenter
PreventionPrograms
Crisisinformationandreferralservices
Rapecrisiscenters

Useyourvoiceandyourvote(childrendonothavethisright)to
makeyourcommunityasaferplaceforchildren.
Askyourelectedofficialswhatlegislationtheyaresupportingtoprotectchildren.
Supportlegislationthatprotectschildren(contactPreventChildAbuseNCformore
informationoncurrentlegislation.Seewebaddressonlinkspage).
Demandthatlocalgovernmentputmoremoneyintoeffortstofightchildabuse.
ContactmembersofCongress.
Writeletterstothenewspaperinyourarea.

Breakthecycleofsilence.
Ifyouwereavictimofsexualabuse,considerusingyourpersonalstoryto
breakthesilenceandreachothersabouttheeffectsofabuse.Veryoften,
peoplewilllistentosomeonetheyknowmuchmorereadilythantheywill
respondto"cold"information.
Thereare40millionsurvivorsofsexualabuseinAmericatoday.
Maythepreventionoffurtherabuseandhealingbegin.Youcan
makethedifference!
SHAREWHATYOUHAVELEARNEDATEVERYOPPORTUNITY!
KidsFirstisaccreditedbytheNationalChildren'sAllianceandisanAffiliateofPreventChildAbuseNC.

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