Protecting Our Children: Tips for Preventing and Detecting Child Sexual Abuse

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Child sexual abuse can happen to children of all socio-economic, racial and religious backgrounds. The truth is, that this growing epidemic has put our children at risk, at all times. While there is no foolproof way to protect them from sexual abuse, you, as a parent and caregiver, can take steps to reduce the risk. 

Abuse is a difficult subject for most people, let alone children. Their young and vulnerable minds are not able to comprehend the gravity of the situation, which is why most of the times, children do not report their experiences, even to their parents. Thus, it is extremely important that we learn to detect child sexual abuse as well as, take appropriate steps to prevent it, 

In this blog, we are going to discuss simple steps that will help you combat child sexual abuse by detecting and preventing it.

Preventing Child Sexual Abuse (CSA)

Here are some tips that will help prevent child sexual abuse and protect your children:

Minimizing Opportunities

Most child sexual abuse incidents occur when a child is isolated. Make sure you leave your children in group situations where multiple adults are supervising them. Ask for protective practices in schools and organizations that serve your children, for e.g. background checks, personal and professional references and a code of conduct for the staff. 

Having Open Conversations

Believe it or not, having open conversations about body safety, sex and boundaries is one of the best defenses against child sexual abuse. It teaches children that they have a right to say ‘no’ to an unwanted or uncomfortable touch and how to differentiate between a ‘good touch’ and a ‘bad touch’. 

Reacting Responsibly 

Responding appropriately to suspicious and risky behavior can also protect your child from sexual abuse or revictimization. There are three ways you might come across CSA: through disclosure, discovery or suspicion.

Disclosure: A child trusts you and breaks it to you that they have or are experiencing sexual abuse. In this case, tell them that you believe them and honor them with your attention and compassion. 

Discovery: You have witnessed a sexual abuse act or have just find out through some other way. Make sure you report it immediately to the authorities.

Suspicion: If you notice signs of CSA or witness some boundaries being violated, set limits and ask questions to know more.

Detecting Child Sexual Abuse 

Since we put too much effort into preventing child sexual abuse, we often overlook when a child has actually experienced the abuse. Remember, detecting CSA is as important a preventing it. However, detecting CSA can be difficult. A child might not always open up to you about the abuse they might be experiencing because of the fear of the perpetrators, lack of trust in you or the feelings of guilt and embarrassment. On top of that, since every child reacts to sexual abuse differently, it become even more difficult to recognize when a child is being victimized. 

Below listed are some of the most prevalent signs seen in child sexual abuse victims. If you find these in your child, it is possible that they are experiencing or have experienced sexual abuse. 

• Your child has started keeping secrets from you.

• They do not want to be left alone with certain people or are generally afraid of being away from you.

• They have started spending increasing amount of time alone.

• There is a drastic change in their eating habit; either they have started overeating or have completely stopped.

• They have become more aggressive.

• You have noticed self-harming behavior in them.

• They are experiencing nightmares and are always scared.

• They have lost interest in school or extra-curricular activities which they once loved.

• You have noticed bruises, unexpected bleeding, blood on their sheets or their undergarments or trauma signs on their genitalia.

Also Read: Importance of the Online Verification of Documents in the Financial Sector

Bottom Line:

It is our responsibility to help prevent sexual abuse against children, however, if you suspect or know that a child is being abused, it is important to act fast. Don’t ignore the warning signs, and report your concerns to the authorities, as soon as possible. 

If you need professional help, get in touch with Sanaa’s Stars; an organization committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment for abused children to heal and grow.

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