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"It takes a Village to protect a child"              

Role of Parents
As a parent, you are the most important adult in your child's life and to whom your child looks up. We understand that you care for your children and while concerned about their safety, unfortunately cannot always ensure it. But you can equip them with information and skills to build self-protective behavior.

The most important factor for your children's protection is a strong self-esteem. Let them know how important they are to you. Be available when they need to talk. Be honest and open with them when they ask difficult questions. And always believe what your child tells you, no matter how unbelievable or difficult to believe it is.

Talking about child sexual abuse with your child may seem difficult, but the possible consequences of not talking with your child are even worse - that they may be sexually abused and not know where to turn for help.
"How" to bring up the topic of child sexual abuse for discussion with your child can be as difficult as actually talking about it.

Here are some suggestions:
4 Learn to feel comfortable with the topic of human sexuality and make sure that you first know the information yourself before talking with your child.
4 Set general and personal safety rules with your child. For example, teach your child safety rules such as "look both ways before crossing a street" or "never play with matches".
4 Make use of the moments when your child is naturally being inquisitive. Don't avoid questions like - where do babies come from, or what is sex. Dignify children by answering their questions. They might look to other ways, often inappropriate, to satisfy their curiosity.
4 Play the "What if…" game with your child. For example, ask your child, "What if we get separated in the market and you can't find me, what would you do?" "What if someone wanted to touch your private body parts, what would you do?" Use relevant situations and encourage your child towards the correct answer .
4 Read stories to your child about children who have been in difficult circumstances and how they overcome those difficulties. Telling/reading these stories will give your child a positive outlook regarding his/her safety concerns.
This could also provide the child with the opportunity to tell you about problems for which s/he needs help.
Set family safety rules, such as

Make a list of people you would allow your child to be alone with anywhere (listen to your child's response to the names you suggest);

4 Don't encourage children to give personal information.
4 The personal safety touching rules.
Teach children proper terms for private body parts. If the child is young, a vernacular may be used, but use unique terms. Do NOT give private body parts names that also represent something else (such as "flower" or "snake").
Children, like all of us, have a right to personal space and can declare who is and is not allowed to enter it. Set rules for children about privacy, and teach them how to assert their rights if their personal space is violated.
Affirm children's feelings and let them know they have a right to their feelings. Children can say "NO" without being disrespectful.
Teach children that keeping secrets is not okay, especially when this involves breaking family safety rules.
Help build a child's self-esteem. Children need strong self-esteem to be able to protect themselves form sexual abuse and tell you about what happened.
Teach children to contact people they trust if a problem occurs.
Children need to know that people they know are also capable of doing hurtful things. Teach your children to look out for certain "situations" or "actions" instead of people themselves. Children should be taught to differentiate between "unsafe actions" and "unsafe people", thus removing the fear of adults, and allowing healthy contact.
Carefully scrutinize the backgrounds and references of any caregivers (ayahs, drivers, cooks etc.)

The best way would be to have your child tell you directly. However, telling about abuse is difficult. (Click here to know more about why children sometimes don't tell). Children who cannot directly tell you may express it through their behavior. There may also be physical indicators to suggest abuse. (Click here to know more about physical and behavioral indicators).

Children communicate through words, signs and behavior. We adults need to listen when they speak, and understand what their signs and behaviors tell us. When children don't talk to us about their problems, it may be because we don't listen to them well, or we are not available for them. As parents you are an important part of your child's protection, as well as recovery if they are abused. How you respond to disclosure is important for your child's as well as your well being. It is not uncommon for a parent to feel shock, disbelief, denial, self-blame, anger, confusion and/or doubt, if a child tells you s/he was abused.

The following guidelines will help you:
4 Believe your child
4 Remain calm
4 Affirm your child's feelings
4 Tell your child what will happen next
4 Support your child
4 Report the abuse and seek assistance
Though your support is extremely crucial and integral to the healing process for the child, it is important to seek professional assistance when a child has been abused. To know more about how to respond when a child discloses his/her abusive experience(s), (click here )
Role of Schools
Schools are at the frontline of child protection since they have the potential to both teach protective behaviors effectively and to a greater number of children than any other system, including parental instructions. This is because a large part of the truly "awake" time of a child's waking hours are spent at school. Besides educators have a special role in combating child sexual abuse, as they possess the knowledge, training and opportunity to observe and respond to children's behaviour and physical conditions over a period of time. Additionally, because of the close daily contact they are in a unique position to identify these children who need help and protection.
What schools can do to prevent Child Sexual Abuse:
4 Ensure teachers, volunteers and anyone else with access to children is properly screened and trained
4 Implement and enforce a policy for reporting child sexual abuse and handling disclosures from children
4 Establish protocols and screening for school computer use. Provide training to students and teachers on acceptable use of computers

Assess your environmental structure and take every possible step to make it safer for children

4 Make certain campus security is in place so that all visitors are screened through the office and the unusual incidents/visitors are handled.
4 Provide programmes and roles for parents to make them a part of their children's safety and security at school and while going to and from school.
4 Choose or develop child-safety programs for the school that are based on accepted educational theories, are appropriate for the child's age and levels of education and development, and are designed to offer concepts that will help children build self-confidence in order to better handle and protect themselves in all types of situations. Use multiple program components that are repeated several years and use qualified presenters who include role-playing, behavioral rehearsal, feedback and active participation in presentations.
Role of the Community
Here are some of the things as a community we can do
4 Know. Learning more about child rights and child sexual abuse can help you ensure the safety of children in your family, your neighborhood and your community
4 Talk. Talk to your colleagues, friends, relatives and family about the problem. Help break the silence around child sexual abuse.
4 Observe. Be alert to the behavioral and physical indicators of sexual abuse in children. Don't just hear children's voices Listen to them.
4 Help. If you suspect a child of being abused, assist the child. Seek assistance from Tulir-CPHCSA.
4 Advocate. Ask your child's school to incorporate personal safety curriculum and to implement a school child protection policy.
4 Contact. Tulir-CPHCSA can organize talks/workshops for your school, organization or community.
4 Involve. Volunteer your time and resources to organizations working against child sexual abuse.