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10 Tips for Parents Who Want to Protect Children From Child Abuse

Jul 2, 2008
It is both gratifying and frightening when we see child abusers and predators being captured on news reports. We are grateful that they have been caught. But, we are frightened for the safety of our children and those of others because there seem to be so many of them. There are perhaps more than there have ever been and we are more aware of the problem due to global news reports, 24 hours a day. Consequently, we all need to learn safety procedures to protect our children from predators.

1. TEACHING CHILDREN SKILLS. Reporting the inappropriate actions of an adult is not as easy for a child as it might seem. We raise children to do what adults tell them to do. We also tell them to do it without questioning why. Sometimes what we tell them to do is painful, such as getting a medical procedure. We still expect them to obey. How is a child to distinguish between a painful medical procedure with which a trusted adult tells them to comply and painful sexual abuse with which a trusted adult tells them to comply. Young children cannot do it at all. As children mature, we teach them "good touch, bad touch." This is helpful for some, butnot all. Which adult to obey is still very confusing for many children. It is up to the aduls in a child's life to teach and monitor where a child is, what he is doing, and who he is with.

2. STRANGER DANGER AND TRUSTED ADULT DANGER. It is not only the stangers that pose a risk to our children, it can be someone that is known to and trusted by the family. We can teach our children to not go with a stranger, but what happens when the predator is a relative, preacher, teacher, scout leader, or coach? This is very confusing to parents and children. How do you teach this concept without scaring them? Explain things based on the developmental level of the child and try not to frighten her. It is still your job to be the primary protector. Build an excellent relationship with your children. Talk every day about their activites. Make sure communication is open for ANY topic.

3. PROVIDE THERAPY FOR THE VICTIMS OF ABUSE AND PREDATORS. Child abuse is out of the relm of normal experience. It can be confusing and damaging to children and their parents. The child (or parent) may become depressed, anxious, or hyperactive. She may sleep or eat too little or too much. Her grades may drop and her behavior deteriorate. These may be signs that the abuse was traumatic and caused injury that needs therapy. Have your child evaluated by a professional to determine the need for therapy.

4. TAKE ACTION WHEN A CHILD HAS BEEN ABUSED. The main goal is to catch and stop the perpetrator of child abuse and provide services for the victim. The two main agencies that provide investigations of child abuse are the local, county or state police, and the county Department of Social Services. Both can be found in your phone book. It does not matter who you call first, either agency will advise you about what to do next. Then locate and make an appointment with a counselor or therapist for your child and yourself, if needed. Support anf healing is needed as soon as possible.

5. APPROPRIATE SEX OFFENDER SPECIFIC TREATMENT FOR ALL OFFENDERS. Appropriate therapy can reduce the risk of future child abuse. The goal should be, "No more victims." Assessment and appropriate therapy should be available to and mandatory for every convicted child abuser, whether incarcerated or in the community. You are a citizen. You have a voice. Insist that there are child abuse and violent predator assessments and treatments in your jurisdiction and that it is mandatory for all legally sanctioned offenders. Even when incarcerated, most return to the community and you want the lowest risk of re-offending against a child. Treatment to reduce risk is necessary, whether incarcerated or not.

6. STOPPING CHILD ABUSE IS GOOD PREVENTION. There are over 3 million abused and neglected children in the US. Some of them will grow up to be violent criminals and some will grow up to be sex offenders. They are being raised by criminal, drug addicted, alcoholic, and mentally ill parents who cannot provide proper care. Until we solve this problem, we will have a large source of criminals and sex offenders in the world. You can make a difference by contributing time or money to an organization that is helping distressed families with children. You can be a mentor or contribute to the Salvation Army. If everybody does one thing, we can make a change.

7. SUPPORT RESEARCH INTO THE PROBLEM. We know a lot about the personalities of sexual and violent offenders through research. We know how to prevent some children from becoming perpetrators. We know how to assess risk of future violence or sexual offending to prevent premature releases. To not use what we know through research would be foolish and ill advised. You can support research into these important areas and the application of what is already known by writing to your legislators. Accepting anything less than the best, poses a danger to your child and everyone else's.

8. STREET CHILDREN. There are millions of abandoned street children around the world. They have to survive any way they can. Many are pulled into criminal and terrorist groups because they have no other way to feed, cloth, or house themselves. Ways to house, clothe, feed, educate, and provide health care for these children must be found. As some of these street children mature into adulthood, they will abuse other street children, become criminal, and be recruited by terrorist groups. If you want to stop terrorism in the future, Support aid to poor, unprotected children, wherever they are in the world.

9. PARENTS, EDUCATE YOURSELVES. It is important for parents to educate themselves on the characteristics of violent offenders. Know who is prone to violence in your community and don't let them supervise your children, whether they are youth leaders, sports coaches, the people that run the amusement rides, or others. Know the red flags to look for. Some very dangerous, violent offenders can be very slick, smooth talking, and very good at fooling people into thinking they are trustworthy, but there is always some little thing that is just a little odd.

10. CHILDREN SHOULD ALWAYS BE SUPERVISED BY SOMEONE YOU KNOW AND TRUST. Get to know the people who supervise your child's activities. Don't assume that they are all good people. Ask questions. Get to know them. Question anything suspicious. Talk to other parents about anything that concerns you. It is your child's safety that is at stake, get involved.

You have read 10 ideas about protecting your children. This is just the tip of the iceburg. There are many more. There are several sites on the internet that have information about internet and general safety. Be well educated. There is lots to learn.
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Keep your child safe!! Learn about predators and prevent child abuse. child abuse predators, and child abuse prevention
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