It is important to know that most children and teens who are sexually abused are sexually abused by someone they know (90%). Therefore, the typical advice of “Don’t talk to strangers” does not apply. Your efforts to keep your child safe must be based on this fact and not on “Stranger-Danger” rules. It is also important to know that most sexual abuse does not involve the use of physical force. Many times, sexual abuse happens through coercion or tricks.
In order to help keep your child or teen safe from sexual abuse, it is important that as a parent, you communicate with your child. Encourage your child to talk to you about all topics, not just if they are hurt or confused. Teach your child that they can tell you anything, even when they are scared. Reinforce that it is your job to keep them safe. In addition, teach your children age appropriate information about body parts, privacy and sexual education. Emphasize that their “private” parts are private and that they have the right to say no and tell if someone wants to invade that “privacy.” You can model positive boundaries for your children by respecting their privacy as well as your own, such as closing doors when you are changing or in the restroom and asking your child to do the same.
The following tips and links are also helpful when learning to protect your child from sexual abuse: