No matter what your political beliefs, there's one thing parents can agree on: We'll be inundated with election coverage over the next few weeks. Chances are that your child has begun to notice campaign signs, television commercials, news coverage, T-shirts, bumper stickers, buttons and conversations about the election.
Keeping Kids Safe: Preventing Child Sexual Abuse
The sexual abuse of children is a difficult, but important, topic to discuss. Child sexual abuse is any form of sexual activity imposed upon a child by an adult or other child in a position of power, authority, or influence. Any sexual conduct that is harmful to a child's mental, emotional, or physical welfare is considered abusive, including:
- obscene or inappropriate conversations with a child
- exposing oneself or forcing a child to expose themselves
- touching a child’s genitals or forcing them to touch someone else’s
- watching a child undress or use the bathroom for reasons other than supervision
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), as many as 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused by the time that they turn 18 years old; 34% before the age of 9. Statistics from the Department of Justice show that approximately 93% of offenders are known to the child and the family, which can make it that much harder for the child to come forward and tell.
As parents, these statistics can be hard to hear, but there is hope. By having regular conversations with your child about appropriate touches and boundaries for their body early on, you are giving them powerful information that can help prevent them from becoming a victim. The truth is that these conversations are typically left until a tragic situation arises within a community, but they should begin much sooner and with every child, in every family.
For more information about talking to your child, read our article Keeping Kids Safe: Teaching Kids about Safe Touches.
Stop It Now offers information on the physical and non-physical behaviors associated with child sexual abuse as well as information on sexual abuse between children.
Source: NSOPW (Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website)
NSPOW gives comprehensive information and statistics about sexual abuse and disclosure among victims.
Source: RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)
RAINN offers a compilation of important facts and statistics about child sexual abuse and infographics that help to show its impact.
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Child abuse happens when a parent or other adult causes serious physical or emotional harm to a child. Read this article to learn more about the different types of abuse including, physical. sexual, emotional, and neglect and what to do if you suspect your child is being abused.
Talking with your child about things like touching and private body parts isn’t easy. It’s common to feel uncomfortable and embarrassed, and you may not know where to start. But the good news is, you can weave these conversations into the interactions you have with your kids every day, like bedtime, reading time, and at meals.