Be A Super Hero: Reduce the Risk of Sexual Abuse Of the Children In Your Life

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Be A Super Hero: Reduce the Risk of Sexual Abuse Of the Children In Your Life

One of the most anxious moments of my adult life was the first day I left my then two month old son in the hands of his daycare provider so that I could go back to work.  I knew what the risks were for my son.  I had worked in the field of child protection for nearly twenty years at that time.  I had seen the dark side of humanity and was feeling very overwhelmed at the daunting task of keeping my child safe from all harm.

Many parents face this same dilemma.  While there is nothing we can do to totally guarantee our child’s safety there are things that we can do to reduce the risk.

One of the most important things that you can do to reduce the risk of sexual abuse of your child is really quite simple.  Listen to your child. Talk to your child.

Not in the distracted I am busy kind of way but really take time every day to be present in your child’s life.  Pay attention to all the small stuff so they will come to you with the big stuff.  This will let your child know that you care about him.  It also builds self esteem.

Many children who are sexually abused are vulnerable because they lack self worth.  If they are not getting that attention from you, they may seek that attention from someone whose intentions are not pure.  Another very important thing that you can do is when you are looking for a child care provider, do your homework.

If you are using a daycare facility you should inquire about their employee screening process.  You should make sure that it includes a thorough background check.

If you are using an in home provider then you should require that anyone you hire have a background check.

If you are a single parent and are bringing other adults or older children into your child’s life, make sure that you know them and know what their backgrounds contain.

You should be very selective about who spends time alone with your child.  As a parent you should educate yourself about the signs of abuse and follow up if you think that you are seeing any of these signs.

If you do not know what to do, then seek advice from a professional at the Jackson County Children’s Advocacy Center.  You can learn the signs of abuse by taking a Darkness to Light class at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County.                                                                     

 Tammi Pitzen

Executive Director

Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County

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