PREVENTING CHILD ABUSE

What Parents Can Do

•    Listen to your children. Pay attention if they tell you that they don’t want to be with someone or
     go somewhere.
•    Take the time to talk with your children. Encourage open communication and learn how to be
     an active listener.
•    Notice when someone shows one or all of your children a great deal of attention or begins
     giving them gifts.
•    Never force your child to hug and/or kiss someone.
•    Teach your children that they have the right to say NO to an unwelcome, uncomfortable, or
     confusing touch or actions by others. Teach them to immediately tell you if this happens.
     Reassure them that you’re there to help, and it is okay to tell you everything.
•    Be sensitive to any changes in your children’s behavior or attitude.
•    Look and listen to small cues and clues that something may be troubling your children,
     because children are not always comfortable disclosing disturbing events or feelings.
•    If your children do confide problems to you, strive to remain calm, non-critical, and
     nonjudgmental. Listen compassionately to their concerns, and work with them to get the help
     they need to resolve the problem.
•    Be sure to screen babysitters and caregivers. Many states now have a public registry that
     allows parents to check out individuals for prior criminal records and sex offenses. Check
     references with other families who used the caregiver or babysitter. Once you have chosen the
     caregiver, drop in unexpectedly to see how your children are doing. Ask your children how the
     experience with the caretaker was, and carefully listen to the response.
•    Provide oversight and supervision of your children’s computer use. Know who they’re
     communicating with online and where they might have access to computers. Establish rules
     and guidelines for computer use for your children.
•    Be involved in your children’s activities. As an active participant, you’ll have a better
     opportunity to observe how the adults in charge interact with your children.
•    Work with your children’s school to institute sound child-safety openly and honestly. There is
     no substitute for your attention and supervision. Being available and taking time to really know
     and listen to your child helps build feelings of safety and security.
•    Talk to your children about a “secret password”. Let them select a word that they can
     remember. Tell this word to only those family members or friends who are allowed to pick up
     the children from school or anyplace else. Then when someone attempts to pick them up, the
     children should ask the person what the password is. Children should not go with anyone who
     does not know the password.
•    Let your children know that any kind of abuse they may experience is never their fault. If
     children realize this, they may be more willing to talk about their problem or situation.
•    Each night ask your children about their day. Ask them what good things happened, what bad
     things happened and if they could change one thing about this day, what would it be. This will
     give children the opening they may need to talk with you.
•    If your children spend time at one of their friend’s homes, whether for a few hours or the entire
     night, make sure you know the parent(s). Trust your instincts. When your children return home,
     ask questions about what they did, etc.
•    Call our hotline at 1-800-468-8920 if you have questions or need advice/assistance.
 

What Schools Can Do

•    Make sure teachers, volunteers, and any one else with access to children are properly
     screened and trained. Implement and enforce a policy for reporting child abuse disclosures
     from children.
•    Establish protocols and screening for school computer use. Provide training for students and
     teachers on the acceptable use of computers.
•    Choose or develop child-safety programs for the school that are based on accepted
     educational theories; are appropriate for the children’s ages and levels of education and
     development; 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 in a row; and, use qualified presenters who
     include role playing, behavioral rehearsal, feedback, and active participation in presentations.
•    Access your environmental structure and take every possible step to make it safer for
     children. Make certain children are properly supervised both in the classroom and around
     campus.
•    Make certain campus security is in place so all visitors are screened through the office and
     unusual incidents/visitors are handled.
•    Provide programs 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.
•    Talk to every parent regarding who may and may not pick up the children from school.
•    Create after school programs. Parents and others can volunteer their time and talent to these
     programs.
•    Call our hotline at 1-800-468-8920 if you have questions or need advice/assistance
    

What Communities Can Do

•    Support local law-enforcement efforts to establish neighborhood crime-watch programs.
     Report suspicious persons/activities to local law enforcement.
•    Support aggressive prosecution of child molesters within local communities and have an
     action plan and protocol in place to alert the community and assuage their fears when a high
     profile arrest is made.
•    Mobilize community groups and child serving organizations to help make your community
     more “child safe”. Determine if available services and programs are adequate to address the
     needs of the community.
•    Institute free child-identification programs in the community to ensure that all parents have a
     recent, clear and readily available photograph, set of fingerprints, and DNA specimen of their
     children.
•    Advocate for meaningful legislative change with local elected officials.
•    Promote after school programs. These are especially important for “Latch Key Kids”.
•    Promote the Safe Place Program, especially for businesses that are open 24/7.
•    Call our hotline at 1-800-468-8920 if you have questions or need advice/assistance.
 

What Children Can Do

•    Before going anywhere, always check with your parents or the person in charge.
•    Check first for permission from your parents before getting into a car or leaving with any one,
      even someone you know.
•    It is safer for you to be with other people when going places or playing outside.
•    Say NO if someone tries to touch you in a way that makes you feel frightened, uncomfortable
     or confused.
•    Tell a grown-up if someone touches you in a way that is not O.K.
•    Trust your feelings and talk about your problems. You can ask for help.
 

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