Protect your Child from Sexual Abuse
Unfortunately, ANY child is at risk of sexual abuse. Hoping... denying.... pretending.... that this can't happen to your child is not lowering your child's risk of being sexually abused, and it does not prepare them to get help quickly and effectively if the worst does happen. The stark reality of the statistics is that approximately 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18 and it can affect any child regardless of age, gender, family income, culture, race, religion, physical appearance, sexuality, intellect, disability etc. Most sexual abuse (85%) is perpetrated someone within the child's social sphere - for example, a relative, a family friend, a teacher, youth worker, religious leader, neighbour. Despite the stereotypical image of the abuser propagated by the media, abusers usually do not look like monsters and it is relatively rare for them to be strangers. The majority of children never report the abuse, and often this is because they are afraid of their parents’ reactions, because they fear getting in trouble, or because they don't know how to tell. The child who keeps the abuse secret is more likely to experience severe physical and emotional consequences, both in childhood and later in life. Children from a young as three years old can be taught skills that lower their vulnerability of sexual abuse and which also increase their ability to tell if something does happen. You, as the parent, play the most vital role in educating your child about their safety and about what's right and wrong. Similarly, you have a big role to play in identifying risk factors and signs in order to aid prevention and detection of abuse.