Abusers are not always strangers. In fact, in the majority of child sexual abuse cases, the perpetrator is very close to the family. Learn the facts about child sexual abuse.
Physical signs of sexual abuse are not always present. Know how to identify behavioral and emotional signs of abuse. Does your child fear a specific person? Are they afraid to be left alone? Do they have nightmares? It could be nothing, or together, could be early indicators of abuse. Know what to look for.
Only 1 in 10 children who have been sexually abused actually report it. Often it is because they do not have an adult they trust. Let your children know it is okay to talk to you about anything, and that you will not get angry or upset if they think they made a mistake. Educated children are much harder targets for abuse. Teach your children about their own bodies, the correct names of their body parts, healthy boundaries, and the differences between "appropriate touches" and "inappropriate touches." For more information on how to talk to your children, read these tips on communicating healthy messages to your children.
Know who you are leaving your children with and let your children tell you if there is someone they do not trust. Believe them when they tell you they do not want to be alone with that person- there is probably a reason why. Read about everyday actions to minimize opportunities for abuse. Also, View the Maryland Sex Offender Registry.
Talk to your child about people to whom they can go at any time if something bad happens. Establish a place where he/she can go where they feel safe if something bad happens. Let your child tell you who he/she trusts or where he/she feels comfortable. This way, if something goes wrong, both you and your child have a place and a person where you know they can go and feel safe, and you can easily find him/her. Download BCAC's safety plan here.
Don't overreact if your child tells you something bad has happened to him/her. Let your child know that you are listening and what he/she has to say is important. Refrain from asking too many questions, as they may become confused or think they are in trouble. Call 911 or Child Protective Services at 410-361-2235. For more information on what to do if a child discloses abuse, click here.
Schedule a workshop at your organization, religious center, or your child's school. BCAC's prevention programs are offered in both Spanish and English. Contact us to find out when we can present to you.
Become a part of our Speakers Bureau and speak out in the community about child sexual abuse.
BCAC's prevention program is made possible through the generosity of individuals like you. Consider making a meaningful gift today in order to educate and train more people on how to keep children safe.