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.
are some suggestions:
|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.
|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".
|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.
|Play the "What
" 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
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.
TO HELP PREVENT CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
family safety rules, such
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);
|Don't encourage children
to give personal information.
|The personal safety
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"
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.
children's feelings and
let them know they have a right to their feelings. Children
can say "NO" without being disrespectful.
children that keeping secrets is not okay,
especially when this involves breaking family safety rules.
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.
children to contact people they trust if a problem occurs.
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.
scrutinize the backgrounds and references of any caregivers
(ayahs, drivers, cooks etc.)
HOW WOULD YOU KNOW IF YOUR CHILD EXPERIENCED
The best way would be to have your
child tell you directly. However, telling about abuse is difficult.
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
here to know more about physical and behavioral indicators).
HOW SHOULD YOU AS A PARENT RESPOND TO YOUR CHILD'S
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.
following guidelines will help you:
|Believe your child
| Remain calm
| Affirm your child's
| Tell your child what
will happen next
| Support your child
| Report the abuse and
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
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:
|Ensure teachers, volunteers
and anyone else with access to children is properly screened
|Implement and enforce
a policy for reporting child sexual abuse and handling
disclosures from children
protocols and screening for school computer use. Provide
training to students and teachers on acceptable use of
Assess your environmental structure and take every
possible step to make it safer for children
campus security is in place so that all visitors are screened
through the office and the unusual incidents/visitors
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.
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.
of the Community
are some of the things as a community we can do
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
Talk. Talk to your
colleagues, friends, relatives and family about the problem.
Help break the silence around child sexual abuse.
Be alert to the behavioral and physical indicators of
sexual abuse in children. Don't just hear children's voices
Listen to them.
If you suspect a child of being abused, assist the child.
Seek assistance from Tulir-CPHCSA.
Ask your child's school to incorporate personal
safety curriculum and to implement a school child protection
Tulir-CPHCSA can organize talks/workshops for your
school, organization or community.
Volunteer your time and resources to organizations
working against child sexual abuse.