Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a topic that is pertinent for all parents and caregivers. And while as mothers, fathers and guardians, you are aware and you worry about it, sometimes, knowing where to start and what to teach becomes a question mark. This article will answer those questions about how you can protect children from ongoing or potential abuse, what are some of the safety rules and some useful tips.
Child abuse can be defined as harming (whether physically, emotionally, or sexually), ill-treatment, abuse, neglect or deprivation of any child. It is not always easy to identify if a child is being hurt or is at risk? Sexual abuse can happen to children of any race, socio-economic group, religion or culture.
Did you know that 1 in every 2 children in India experience some form of child sexual abuse? For a matter of fact, 1 in every 5 children faces severe CSA and about 95% of the abusers are known to the victims. While most parents like you worry about protecting their children from child sexual abuse (CSA), they often don’t know where to start.
Below are some tips that will help you and other caregivers protect their children from ongoing or potential abuse.
3 Important tips on how parents can help prevent child sexual abuse
1. Educate Yourself About Child Sexual Abuse
Learn everything you can about child sexual abuse. What is CSA? Why do people sexually abuse children? What is the impact of CSA on children and adults? Who is most likely to commit crimes of abuse? Everything. It is important to seek preventative information about child sexual abuse in order to be able to prevent it.
2. Teach your Children the 3 Personal Safety Rules
It is essential to start teaching your children personal safety rules early (in an age-appropriate manner)
Here are 3 simple personal safety rules.
- Rule #1: It is never alright for some to touch, look at or talk about our private body parts, except to keep them clean and healthy.
- Rule #2: If someone breaks your personal safety rule 1, you can say NO and GET AWAY from that person or unsafe situation.
- Rule #3: Tell a helping adult about the incident.
3. Encourage Open Communication with Children
Communication is the key to keeping children safe from sexual abuse. Create a comfortable environment where children are encouraged to share things they may be embarrassed or afraid about. Be willing to share with your children, all that you know about Child Sexual Abuse and how to prevent it. Teach them basics like ‘no one has the right to touch your body without your permission’, ‘you can assertively say no and get away from an unsafe situation’.
Here are some useful tips to keep in mind when you talk to children about personal safety:
- Use appropriate names for all private parts when talking to children.
- Safety rules apply to everyone, including adults.
- If someone breaks the safety rule, tell a helping adult and keep telling until you receive help!
Arpan’s E-learn platform, www.arpanelearn.com, is a great place for children and adults to access age-appropriate resources on child sexual abuse for free and to learn about personal safety. It also has resources for adults to learn more about child sexual abuse prevention and intervention. If you know of or have come across any child who is being or has been sexually abused, reach out to Arpan’s counsellors on the helpline number: +91 98190 86444 or log on to www.arpan.org.in to know more.
About Guest Author
Arpan is an award-winning organisation working hard to address the issue of child sexual abuse in India. Arpan has won 6 national-level awards and 2 international awards for its exemplary work. Based in Mumbai, Arpan is one of the largest NGO in India providing prevention and intervention services to children and adults. Over the last 15 years, Arpan has impacted over 1.6 million children and adults.