It’s sexual assault awareness month & child abuse prevention month. It’s time to prevent abuse in your family.
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.
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
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.
Download a printable brochure by clicking HERE. This information has been provided by the Hearts of Hope Education Director, Val Senegal.
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".
Predators look for childrens who feel ignored or unaccepted by parents or peers because the need for attention allows them to manipulate their victim.
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.
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.
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
I Have A Voice!
I have a right to be protected. I have a right to be free!
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.