Because you work with children (and others who work with children) daily, you are able to notice behavior changes, not only in the students you work with, but in the adults in your life: Other teachers, parents, school or program staff, and older children not under your direct supervision. This ability to notice changes puts you in a special position to stop child sexual abuse… before it can happen, as well as intervening and reporting where it is suspected.
Know The Warning Behaviors
Knowing the warning behaviors is a great step in being able have conversations with adults or older children who may be at-risk for sexually abusing a child.
Know How To Help Children At-Risk For Abusive Behavior
Knowing how to help children who show concerning sexual behavior is a plus. Pretending it did not happen and hoping it goes away may solve the problem, but it may also enable more inappropriate behavior. Know when to get help.
Know How To Respond To At-Risk People And Victims
Victims of sexual abuse, and those at-risk for child sexual abuse, need very different approaches. A victim will need to process at their own pace, where a potential abuser may need the extra attention of you checking in more on how they are feeling to show that you care. Responding to anyone is always a balancing act: With victims, you will want to let them set the pace, and with potential abusers, you will want to take more initiative.
Knowing Appropriate/Inappropriate Child Behaviors
Knowing what behaviors are appropriate in the children you work with, and which behaviors are not, is a great way of being able to tell when a child may have been sexually abused. Knowing how to make safety plans and react to certain situations is also a good idea.
Know How To Report Abuse Of Any Kind
Knowing how to report child sexual abuse, or other kinds of abuse, can be as simple as contacting a child advocacy center in your area. Of course, you can also contact the police or child protective services. It may help to write down the information you need to report beforehand.
Knowing The Facts
Know Your Resources
There are many more resources available to use. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center is very comprehensive, though your state’s rape crisis center or coalition against sexual assault may have resources specific to your area.