The Primary Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse
Primary prevention, not primarily reaction.

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Protecting Your Child From Abuse

Many of the themes aimed at educators also applies to parents, so you may want to drop by the educators page.

There are many approaches to protecting children from child sexual abuse, but as a parent, it can be daunting to figure out which approaches work and which do not. Some sites and advocacy groups advocate knowing where sex offenders are in your area, but the reality is that 95% of sex crime is not perpetrated by registered sex offenders, so viewing these registries and lists puts your attention on a population that is unlikely to be a threat, even if that approach seems to make sense to you as a parent. The majority of sexual crimes are committed by those with no criminal record, but how do you protect against that? Answering that question is why sexual abuse prevention programs exist. One good tip sheet for hiring caregivers is available at Darkness to Light, and the page on individuals and families in prevention can also be of assistance.

Researchers who study abuse for a living know that the best way to stop child sexual abuse is before it can happen. In terms of educating your child, the best ways to do that are to empower your child with confidence, help them know and use the proper words for their private parts, help your child set proper boundaries, and have honest conversations about sex and sexuality. By removing the taboo on addressing these topics, you make it easier for your child to approach you with issues or questions. In terms of being watchful and aware, the best ways to prevent abuse before it happens is by knowing the facts, knowing the warning behaviors of at-risk people, and being aware of what grooming is. You can also look at other topics on the prevention page.

How do you do all of that? What does it look like? What are practical steps you can take, and what resources are available? There have been a wide variety of organizations at the local level that attempt to answer these questions, like the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center, but there are a select few that have come out on top: Parents Protect, The Mama Bear Effect, and Stop It Now!. Stop It Now! is an exhaustive resource that can be difficult to navigate, so the UK's Stop It Now! created Parents Protect, which contains a wide variety of practical advice. The Mama Bear Effect is particularly of concern to parents, and can help with a wide variety of issues.