Work with your child

Silence enables sexual abuse to continue. Silence protects sexual offenders and hurts children who are being abused. Sexual abuse can be an extremely difficult and damaging experience. Children do not need to suffer in silence: that is your choice.

Give children personal safety information along with other routine safety discussions about fire, water, health, etc. Children who are well prepared will be more likely to tell if abuse has occurred. This is perhaps a child’s best defense.

In order to protect children, teach them:

  • To feel good about themselves and know they are loved, valued and deserve to be safe
  • The difference between safe and unsafe touches
  • The proper names for all body parts, so they will be able to communicate clearly
  • That safety rules apply to all adults, not just strangers
  • That their bodies belong to them and nobody has the right to touch them inappropriately or hurt them
  • That they are not allowed to touch someone else’s privates
  • That they can say “no” to requests that make them feel uncomfortable – even from a close relative or family friend
  • To report to you if any adult asks them to keep a secret
  • That they can rely on you to believe and protect them if they tell you about abuse
  • That they are not bad or to blame for sexual abuse
  • To tell a trusted adult about abuse even if they are afraid of what may happen

Children are dependent on caregivers for their welfare. When parents/caregivers have experienced historical abuse themselves, there is always potential for this to affect their own responses to issues of abuse or sexuality. This can happen even without them realising it. Experience of abuse can negatively affect our lives in subtle ways and influence our life choices. It is for this reason that the Sexual Abuse Centre offers support, and where appropriate counselling, to people who have experienced sexual abuse, no matter how long ago it may have occurred.
If you have ever experienced sexual abuse, please consider seeking support for yourself. Do this for your children’s sakes.