10 Tips for Preventing Childhood Sexual Abuse
Have you taken the time to teach your children about sexual abuse, as well as ways to identify and prevent it?
Even when your children are very young, you begin to teach them that they need to be careful with dangerous things like fire, sharp objects, cars when they are crossing the street, and many other dangers that can hurt them. But what about abuse?
During their first few years of life, you can teach your children certain habits about caring for their own body and protecting themselves from people who want to cause them harm or put their integrity at risk.
Take into account the following pieces of advice:
10 ways to prevent the sexual abuse of minors
1. Speak to your children at a young age about their body parts
Use the correct anatomical names to refer to their body parts and teach them how they are built.
When children have the confidence to name the different parts of their bodies, they will also have the confidence to tell you if something inappropriate has happened that may be considered a threat.
Children can tell which people love them. It is a natural gift that is lost over time.
-Charles Paul de Kock-
2. Make sure your children know that certain body parts are private
Tell your child that certain body parts shouldn’t be seen by other people. Explain that sometimes it’s necessary for parents or the doctor to see them, but always under safe and permissible limits.
3. Help your child set limits
From a young age, children need to know that no one should touch their private parts, nor should they ever be asked to touch someone else’s private parts.
Parents often forget the second part of this rule, and that is how many abuse cases begin: The perpetrator asks the child to touch a certain part of their body.
4. Tell your child they are not allowed to keep secrets about their bodies
In the majority of child or teen abuse cases, the abuser asks or forces the victim to keep the situation a secret.
The best way to keep this from happening, and prevent the sexual abuse of a minor, is to tell them that absolutely no one should make them keep a secret about their bodies.
5. Establish a code with your children that they can use in an uncomfortable situation
Agree on a word or phrase that your child can use to signal to you that he or she feels unsafe or uncomfortable with a certain person or a place.
6. Assure your children that they will never be punished if they tell you a secret about their bodies
Many children don’t tell their parents that they are victims of some kind of abuse or inappropriate touching because they think they will get in trouble.
Remind your children that they can always trust you and that whatever they tell you will not get them in trouble.
7. Take time to get to know the people in your children’s lives
It’s important to get to know your children’s friends and teachers, as well as the parents of the children they go to visit.
In fact, you should know about any person they have regular contact with. That way, you will have a clearer idea of the context your children live in.
8. Be careful with media
These days, it’s very common to see stories on the news or other publications about sexual abuse of minors.
When your child hears or sees these news stories, you should explain to them what happened and how they should act if something similar were to happen to them.
9. Be careful when choosing the people that will care for your children and teens
Whether it be a new school, a new nanny or an extracurricular activity, it’s important that you are well informed and establish contact with the teacher or the person who is responsible for your child’s integrity while he is involved in the activity.
10. Show interest in your children’s daily lives
Look for a moment to ask your children about their day – who they spent time with, what they did, and if they are feeling okay emotionally and physically.
Building intimacy and trust with your children will help them to talk openly with you about any issue they are dealing with.
The abuse of minors is a reality that is much more common than we would like to believe. That is why it’s so important to bring up children and adolescents who are sure of themselves and prepared to face these circumstances.
Teaching your children to take care of their bodies is essential to preventing any kind of abuse.
Maintain open communication with your children and make a point to always have time available to talk with them, help them with their doubts, and to know what’s going on in their lives.
Remember that battling against a lack of communication or a lack of information in your family is an important way to prevent child abuse.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Salter, M. (2018). Child sexual abuse. In Routledge Handbook of Critical Criminology: Second Edition. http://doi.org/10.4324/9781315622040
- Martínez, J. (2011). Prevención del abuso sexual infantil: Análisis crítico de los programas educativos. Psykhe, 9(2). http://psykhe.cl/index.php/psykhe/article/view/443
- Deza Villanueva, S. (2005). Factores protectores en la prevención del abuso sexual infantil. Liberabit, 11(11), 19-24. http://pepsic.bvsalud.org/scielo.php?pid=S1729-48272005000100003&script=sci_abstract&tlng=es
- Higareda-Almaraz, M. A., Higareda-Almaraz, E., Higareda-Almaraz, I. R., Barrera-de León, J. C., Gómez-Llamas, M. A., & Benites-Godínez, V. (2011). Aptitud de padres para prevenir abuso sexual en menores después de una intervención educativa participativa. salud pública de méxico, 53(2), 134-140. http://www.scielo.org.mx/scielo.php?pid=s0036-36342011000200006&script=sci_arttext
- Morillo, B., Montero, L., & Colmenares, Z. (2012). Conocimiento de los padres en la prevención del abuso sexual infantil. Enfermería global, 11(25), 1-7. http://scielo.isciii.es/pdf/eg/v11n25/clinica1.pdf
- UNICEF. (2017). Cómo prevenir el Abuso Sexual contra nuestros hijos e hijas Guía para padres y madres de Familia- [Internet} Disponible en: https://www.unicef.org/nicaragua/media/3956/file/C%C3%B3mo%20prevenir%20el%20Abuso%20Sexual%20contra%20nuestros%20hijos%20e%20hijas.pdf
- OMS. (2020). Maltrato Infantil. [Internet]. Disponible en: https://www.who.int/es/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/child-maltreatment