On a daily basis, there are reports of children being sexually abused by adults, some survived this abuse, others were left with scars while some others have lost their lives.
With the increased rate of sexual abuse on children, it is time to talk about things that parents can do to reduce the risk of their children being abused.
Unfortunately, any child is at risk of sexual abuse. Hoping, denying and pretending that this can’t happen to your child is not lowering your child’s risk of being sexually abused, and it does not help in any way. The thought of your child being molested sexually is quite terrifying but it’s something that every parent needs to face because knowledge is power.
The following five safety tips is intended to give you some ideas on what you can do to protect your children from sexual abuse.
1. Talk: Talk often with your child and set a tone of openness. Talking openly and directly with your child teaches the child that it’s okay to talk to you when they have questions. If your child comes to you with concerns or questions, make time to listen and talk to them.
2. Teach: Teach your child key safety principles. Teach children the names of their body parts so that they have the language to ask questions and express concerns about those body parts. Let them know some parts of their body are private and other people should not be touching or looking at those private parts unless they need to touch them to provide care. Let your children know that if someone is touching them or talking to them in ways that make them uncomfortable that it shouldn’t stay a secret or if someone tries to show the child their own private parts, they should tell a trusted adult as soon as possible.
3. Empower: Your child should know that he/she has the right to speak up if they are uncomfortable, or if someone is touching them. Let your child know it’s okay to say ‘NO’ even to adults they know and family members.
4. Implement: Implement Internet safety protocols, and parental controls through platforms such as the Google Family Safety Centre. Work with older children to set guidelines for who they can talk to online, and what information can be shared. Also monitor what they are exposed to on television.
5. Educate: Educate yourself about the warning signs of childhood sexual abuse. Know what to look for, and the best way to respond.
Talking about sexuality with your child should not be something you talk about once and that’s it, it should be a routine conversation.
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