Did you know that most child victims suffer abuse at the hands of someone they know and trust? Someone that YOU know and trust?

We teach our kids not to talk to strangers. And that's good. Now, how do we teach them to be sage around the people that the trust- and we trust?

The first step to preventing abuse against our children is awareness and education. As more parents, professionals and community members learn about the realities of child abuse, the effort to combat this serious problem gains strength. 

Reduce the Risk.  80% of sexual abuse occurs during one-on-one situations.  Protect your child by minimizing opportunity, making sure that multiple adults are present.  You can set an example by personally avoiding one-on-one situations with children other than your own.

TALK to your child. Talking about personal safety is an on-going dialogue., not a single event.

  • Teach your children that the parts of their body that a bathing suit covers are private parts and that no one is allowed to see or touch them there.
  • Encourage your child to talk to you about any touch that makes them feel uncomfortable.

  • Use everyday situations to keep the conversations about personal safety ongoing.

  • Talk to your child.  Let them know that it is okay for them to come to you if anyone makes them uncomfortable.

Protect your child on the Internet

  • Learn about the social media your kids and their friends are using and check your child's privacy settings.  Talk to them about only adding friends they know in real life.
  • Learn about the websites your children use regularly. See what other kids are doing there and how much information you can learn by doing simple searches. Parents need to be aware of what is happening on-line.

  • Keep computers in common rooms of the house and don't be afraid to look over their shoulder to make sure their web-browsing is safe.

  • With cell phones- kids don't need the household computers- check their texts and web-browsing history often.  Be upfront with your kids about the fact that you will be checking their phones.  Talk with them about the pictures and texts they send their friends.

  • Set rules for internet/phone use at your house (including time used, placed used, and websites visited).

Online predators are nothing new.  Whenever a teenager or child is allowed to communicate with adults (or adults posing as children) during chats, emails, texts and instant messages, a potentially dangerous situation could arise if an online predator pursues them.  Talk with your teen about the dangers of online predators helps them make smart choices when the opportunity to communicate with others arises.

Be Vigilant and ASK Questions!  Start the conversation at a very young age.  Speak to your child in a way that is warm, open, and supportive.  Important conversations like these should take place in the context of a supportive, trusting relationship.   Discuss boundaries.  Teach your child their body is their own.  Teach your child the correct names for body parts.  It's okay to say "No" to an adult.  Give your child permission to say NO to an adult.  Explain if someone makes them feel uncomfortable, find a safe place to go and then tell a trusted adult what happened.  Never keep secrets.   Teach your child that secrets can by hurtful.  Explain that an adult should never ask a child to keep a secret and if someone does, to tell you right away.   

  • Watch for changes in your child's behavior. If you child is reluctant about going to certain places or with certain people, as questions.
  • Notice their behavior before and after spending time alone with an adult.

  • Know the adults before allowing your child to participate in sleepovers or extra-curricular activities.

Other children can also be perpetrators of child abuse.  Know the children that play with your children and be sure to supervise their time together.

Pass It On. Educate yourself. Educate your community.

Parents are our greatest resource. You have the power to make change happen in your neighborhood, at local schools and within child-serving organizations.  Invite us to present the Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse training to your school, church or any other group.  The training can be completed in 1-1.5 hours and is completely free.

To report child abuse contact the CPS Hotline at 1-800-252-5400 or www.txabusehotline.org OR call your local law enforcement.

If we don't protect our children, who will?

For more information visit https://ecsatexas.com/resources1