Strategies for Preventing Child Sexual Abuse
Those who victimize children are responsible for their actions, but, as caring and Safe Adults, there are steps we can each take to minimize risks and keep children safer.
- Learn about child sexual abuse, including how to recognize possible signs of abuse and respond to concerns.
- Be prepared to report concerns or suspicions to Children’s Division or Law Enforcement. Contact Children’s Center if you have questions or need support to do this.
- Seek information about activities in which children will be involved, including policies and procedures for supervision and safety. Ensure steps are taken to minimize isolated, one-on-one interactions.
- Talk with adults who will be responsible for caring for or supervising children. Ask about screening, training, and monitoring of employees and volunteers.
- Learn about and watch for “grooming” behavior in adults who interact with children.
- Ensure that children and teens know the behavior you expect from them and the behavior you expect from adults and other youth – including those behaviors that would be concerning, inappropriate or dangerous.
- Talk with children and teens about their bodies, boundaries, and sex. Encourage questions and conversation.
- Teach children proper names for all of their body parts, including those that are “private”.
- Empower youth to be the “boss” of their bodies. Allow them to choose how they greet or show affection to friends and family members. Do not force children to give hugs or kisses.
- Discourage children from keeping secrets – teach the difference between “secrets” and “surprises”.
- Respect privacy and personal space – encourage independence in toileting, dressing, and hygiene.
- Monitor children and teen’s television, video, and internet usage/viewing. Exposure to violence or pornography can impact healthy development.
In addition to this site, you may find helpful information about child abuse prevention, recognition, response, and treatment on the following websites:
American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children
Child Welfare Information Gateway
How Do I Teach My Child About Personal Safety
Missouri Kids First – Ending Child Abuse Now
State Highway Patrol Sex Offenders Registration