7 Steps to Protect Our Children

1. LEARN THE FACTS

  • It is likely that you know a child who has been or is being abused.
  • It is also likely that you know an abuser. The greatest risk to children doesn’t come from strangers but from friends and family.
  • 70% of all reported sexual assaults that occur are children under the age of 17.
  • Most child victims never report the abuse.

2. MINIMIZE OPPORTUNITY

  • Eliminate or reduce any 1 adult/1 child situations.
  • Teach boundaries.
  • Monitor internet use & keep the computer in the family room.

3. TALK ABOUT IT

  • Children often keep abuse a secret, but barriers can be broken down by talking openly about it.
  • Understand why children are afraid to “tell.”
  • Know how children communicate.
  • Talk to other adults about child sexual abuse.

4. STAY ALERT

  • Watch for physical and emotional signs (listed above).
  • Behavioral or emotional signals are more common than physical signs.
  • Be aware that in some children there are no signs ever.

5. MAKE A PLAN

  • Don’t overreact.
  • Support.
  • Report incident.

6. ACT ON SUSPICIONS

  • Trust your instincts – very few reported incidents are false.
  • Call the Children’s Advocacy Center in your area if you have questions or concerns about making a report.
  • Call Law Enforcement or the Department of Child & Family Services to make a report of child abuse.

7. GET INVOLVED

  • Volunteer or financially support organizations that address child sexual abuse.
  • Call or write your Congressman.
  • Support legislation.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT: WWW.D2L.ORG or click HERE for a printable brochure. This information has been provided by the Hearts of Hope Education Director, Val Senegal.

 

Prevention is a Conversation

A. Communicate with your children: 

Dinner time is talking time. Go over basic facts about sexuality. Don’t use words to suggest that sexuality is bad or dirty. Remember that children react to the way you react. Let them know that they can come to you and ask questions if they don’t understand something about their bodies. Have a basic conversation about puberty so that pre-teens can understand the changes that will occur in his or her body. It is good to keep as an ongoing dialogue about sexual abuse and body safety in your household. Ask questions every time they start a new chapter in life or go to new places where they are around new people.                                                                                                 

B. Teach your children about their body parts:

Use the correct body part names. Explain to your child(ren) that no one has the right to touch or even look at their private parts in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.  

 C. Teach children the important steps to take if someone tries to touch their private areas:    

1.) Say No!    

2.) Get Away!     

3.) Tell an Adult!

Remind them that If an adult doesn't believe them the first time they tell them, they must keep telling until someone does believe them. CHILDREN MUST BE SEEN, HEARD & BELIEVED. 
THIS INFORMATION HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY THE HEARTS OF HOPE EDUCATION DIRECTOR, VAL SENEGAL.

Online Safety Tips: #NowMattersL8R

The Internet has drastically changed the way that people communicate, and as a tool used multiple times a day, it's important to take measures to stay safe online. 

1) Don’t post any personal information online, like your address, email or mobile number.

2)  Think carefully before posting pictures or videos of yourself. Once you’ve put  a picture of yourself online most people can see it and may be able to download it. Never take nude selfies and send them through text or social media. This is a form of sexting.

3) Keep your privacy settings as high as possible.

4) Never give out your passwords to anyone, not even your "bestie".

5) Don’t befriend people you don’t know or have not actually met.

6) Don’t meet up with people you've met online.

7) If you see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried, block or delete the person. Then, report it to your parents, law enforcement and/or school officials. Save all evidence.

Visit our #NowMattersL8R social change page

Use the hashtag #NowMattersL8R on your own social media to increase awareness 

Want to know more? Click here for our KATC news segment.

THIS INFORMATION HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY THE HEARTS OF HOPE EDUCATION DIRECTOR, VAL SENEGAL.

How Predators Prey

Statistics show that over 90% of sexual predators are people who parents know and trust. They can be relatives, neighbors, teachers, coaches, scout leaders, church officials, older teenagers who babysit...the list goes on and on! Therefore, it's important to understand how most predators operate. After viewing decades of previous cases, one thing is certain- the processes predators use to develop trust that lead to sexual abuse are always similar. It's called "grooming". 

  1. Predators look for childrens who feel ignored or unaccepted by parents or peers because the need for attention allows them to manipulate their victim.
  2. Predators slowly "groom" with attention, special favors or gifts that must be kept in secret. If the child keeps the secret(s), they pass the test that leads to sexual abuse. If the child discloses any secrets, the predator looks for another victim because secrets are essential to the grooming process.
  3. Predators may then gradually introduce pornography or sexual games to test the victim’s resistance. Larger gifts/bribes may be offered to encourage sexual activity.
  4. Predators will use fear, intimidation & risk of embarrassment as manipulation weapons to maintain secrecy so that the sexual abuse can continue. This guarantees the victim won't tell

It's important for parents and community leaders to understand that victims usually fear retaliation and legal consequences as well as public humiliation.  Oftentimes, they feel no one will believe them, especially if the predator is a family member or well respected leader within the community. If the predator is the family's breadwinner, victims may fear for their safety and security. If you have any suspicions, gather more information by asking your child open ended questions. This will give insight into the situation that provoke suspicions. If your child discloses that they are being abused or if your child is being groomed for abuse, you must call 337-233-7273 immediately. This not only protects your child, but a report will protect other children that this person may be grooming or abusing.

Always trust your instincts. If someone is making you or your child feel uncomfortable, contact your local law enforcement agency. As a parent, you are your child’s most trusted adult. Never hesitate to intervene in a situation that could potentially lead to abuse. You have a right to protect your child and stop the abuse before it even starts.

THIS INFORMATION HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY THE HEARTS OF HOPE EDUCATION DIRECTOR, VAL SENEGAL.

I Have A Voice!

I have a right to be protected. I have a right to be free!