How to prevent child sex abuse - tips for parents

Child sex abuse is more prevalent than your might think. It's wrong, and a lot of times the perpetrators aren't given justice. Our expert, Dr Gayatri Ayyer gives her view on preventing it.

Stop ViolenceIn the last article we talked about how child sex abuse is not as uncommon as we think it is. We also talked about what constitutes child sex abuse and how to spot it. Below are some important guidelines parents, guardian and caretakers should follow to protect their children from CSA:

  • The typical advice 'Don't talk to strangers' doesn't apply in this case. Most sexual abusers are known to their victims.
  • Do not instruct children to give hugs and kisses to relatives and friends. Let them express affection on their own terms.
  • Observe if the child is reluctant or fearful of approaching any family member or relative or known person. There could be a reason for such behaviour.
  • Teach your children that their bodies are their own. That it is OK to say they do not want a hug or that certain kinds of contact make them uncomfortable.
  • Teach your children basic sexual education. Teach them that no one should touch the 'private' parts of their body. A health professional can also help to communicate sex education to children if parents are uncomfortable doing so.
  • The concept of 'good touch, bad touch' should be taught to children at home and school. There are various books and other multi-media materials available for the same.*
  • Develop strong communication skills with your children. Encourage them to ask questions and talk about their experiences. For example, make it a habit to share your daily activities with child, encouraging the child to do the same. This makes it easier for the child to talk to the parent about any inappropriate touch or behaviour.
  • Explain the importance of reporting abuse to you or another trusted adult.
  • Teach your children that sexual advances from older children and adults are wrong and against the law. Give them the confidence to assert themselves against any adult who attempts to abuse them. If that doesn't work, then the child should remove himself or herself from the situation if possible or bring it to the notice of others in their surroundings.
  • Make an effort to know children's friends and their families. Also know people in the child's surrounding like bus drivers, school staff, care-givers, day care staff, servants, maids, etc.
  • When hiring maids, servants, drivers for your family, ensure that they have valid ID proof and are registered at your nearest Police Station.
  • It is critical to provide adequate supervision for your children and only leave them in the care of individuals whom you deem safe.
  • Carefully monitor child safety in situations where older youth or adolescents supervise younger children.
  • Ensure that at least two adults supervise children at all times it lessens the chance for an abuse situation developing.
  • Instruct your child to never get into a car with anyone or accept food or gifts from anyone without your permission and supervision.
  • It is important to remember that physical force is often not necessary to engage a child in sexual activity. Children are trusting and dependent and will often do what is asked of them to gain approval and love or for getting gifts.
  • Spread awareness about child sexual abuse by arranging for knowledgeable guest speakers to present to your organizations or groups. Encourage your local school and PTAs to establish programs to educate both teachers and students about the problem.


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