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Protecting our children from sexual predators requires shifting our focus from apprehending perpetrators to recognizing danger signs and taking preventive measures, experts say.
Every year, at least 300,000 children are victims of sexual abuse, the American Psychological Association (APA) estimates, reporting that roughly one in every four girls and one in every six boys will be sexually violated. Yet given that predators are often public figures, such as sports coaches or teachers, or members of our own families and circles of friends, it can be difficult to recognize potential for danger.
Informing ourselves and our children about how to: identify people who pose a threat; recognize situations that jeopardize safety; and respond to inappropriate behavior is, therefore, key to prevention. Here are eight ways you and your children can protect yourselves:
He or she will be someone in your family or your community who has frequent contact with your child.
Most child predators are trusted individuals, such as family members, teachers, coaches, family friends and babysitters.
Try to ensure that your child is always in the company of other children and/or their parents whenever they are with adults who may pose a risk.
A family plan might include the following:
These may include:
Often, we worry what others will think if our child refuses to kiss Uncle Joe goodbye or hangs back when a family friend leans in for a hug. If your child is reluctant to show physical affection with anyone, however, respecting the child’s feelings is your first priority. And any adult who is aware of why you do not require the child to observe customary social practice will understand and respect this.
Children who are afraid to tell you that they didn’t pass a test or forgot to do their chores, likely won’t confide in you about uncomfortable feelings or sexual advances either. Encouraging your child to discuss all of his or her feelings with regard to everything from the most minor of concerns to major, establishes you as a go-to person when your child has serious issues, such as sexual abuse or the potential for harm.
Call us today for a free and confidential consultation and find out how we can help. We are committed to helping you in any way possible. If you have been the victim of institutional child molestation, sexual abuse or sexual assault, we are ready to stand by your side and fight for you!
Call 1-800-925-0723 and start your recovery today.