Am I Keeping My Kids Safe From Sexual Abuse?

Updated: Jan 13, 2020

5 Urgent Questions Every Parent Should Ask in 2020

to Help Prevent Sexual Abuse

Kimberly King

The start of a new year is the perfect time to evaluate your parenting strategies and safety plans for your children. Several essential sexual abuse prevention strategies help empower children. Having a prepared parent who knows the facts, eliminates the risks, and responds proactively is your child’s best defense. Sexual abuse prevention is an adult responsibility, and sexual abuse is preventable. The new year is in full swing! Take this time to reset family safety strategies. Make sure to review, assess, and implement a 2020 safety plan for your family.

5 Essential questions for parents to think about:

1. Do your kids know the anatomically correct words for boy and girl private parts?

Research shows that when children know the correct terminology and can communicate their knowledge and education on the topic, they become a less appealing target for predators. Sex offenders are looking for easy targets. Prepared children and educated families are harder to access and groom. Refresh your sexual abuse prevention strategies with a review on body boundaries, body terminology, private part rules, trusted adults, family safety plans, and consent.

2. Do your kids know how to identify their feelings?

Sexual abusers can be tricky and play manipulative games with kids. Sexual abusers take advantage of a child’s lack of emotional awareness during the grooming process. We all know that when something feels wrong, it’s usually wrong. But, kids can be easily manipulated by experienced predators to believe otherwise. One way to alleviate this problem for children is to help kids become more aware of their feelings, identify and talk about them. Make sure your children know they can speak to you about anything, anytime. As your child begins to notice their feelings, they can avoid certain situations that make them feel uncomfortable. Open communication between parents and children will help your child report any unease or concern. Sometimes, children can be embarrassed to share or ask specific questions on awkward topics. A family question box or communication journal can help. You can encourage your children to write down questions or journal about the things they are not ready to verbalize.

3. Does your family have a code word?

If your child is at school or a play date, it is a great idea to give them a code word. If you get a call or text with the code word- parents come immediately to pick up with no questions asked until later. Many parents have implemented the code letter “x.”

“X” indicates something is wrong, and they can’t talk, but they want you to pick them up right away. Young children might be more comfortable with more concrete words like “red flag” or “storm.” Pick a code word for your family and run through a few practice sessions to make sure everyone understands how and when to use the code word.