Preventing & Ending Child Abuse
Frequently Asked Questions
- As a parent, what can I do to prevent child abuse?
- I don't want to make my children fearful by talking about sexual abuse or I don't want to talk to my children about sexual abuse because they are too young. Is it really necessary?
- As a community, what can we do to end child abuse?
1. AS A PARENT, WHAT CAN I DO TO PREVENT CHILD ABUSE?
Practice disciplining your children in a calm, thoughtful way. Give yourself time to cool off rather than punishing in anger. Show your children ways that conflicts can be resolved with words rather than with hitting or hurting.
Talk to your children everyday and listen carefully to what they say about their lives. Be alert to changes in their behavior or emotions and talk calmly with them if you are concerned.
Teach your children that their bodies are their own and that they can say no to touches that feel bad or confusing. Talk with them about privacy to help them learn good boundaries and reassure them that it is ok to say no to things that violate their privacy - even if they are saying no to an adult.
Teach your children to tell you if they are approached, talked to or touched in a way that hurts, scares or confuses them. Reassure them that you will not be angry with them, but want them to stay safe.
Help your children think about what they would do if something confusing or scary happened to them. Talk about different scenarios of play the "what if" game. This will help them identify ways to help themselves be safe and to think about the adults they can turn to for help in different places such as school, the park, the library and church.
2. I don't want to make my children fearful by talking about sexual abuse or I don't want to talk to my children about sexual abuse because they are too young. Is it really necessary?
Unfortunately, sexual abuse is not as uncommon as we would like to think it is. It affects both girls and boys of all ages, from every kind of neighborhood and of all races. Studies have found that about one of every four girls and one of every eight boys has reported incidents of sexual abuse. In 85% of reported sexual abuse cases, the offender is known to the child as a friend, relative or neighbor.
Talking with children about the privacy of their bodies and what are appropriate kinds of touching is a precaution like teaching them to cross the street safely, wear seatbelts and not play with matches. Teaching kids good boundaries helps to keep them safe. Not talking about these issues, won't make them go away.
Teaching young children that their bodies are private doesn't have to be about sex. It can be as simple as reminding children that the parts of their bodies covered by a swimsuit are private.
3. AS A COMMUNITY WHAT CAN WE DO TO END CHILD ABUSE?
As the Greene County Prosecuting Attorney I am committed to the elimination of child abuse. Along with other law enforcement agencies in Missouri, the Greene County Prosecutors office follows the plan laid out by Dr. Victor Vieth of the National Child Protection Training Center to eliminate child abuse in 120-years. Through proper training, reporting, the utilization of Child Advocacy Centers, and zealous prosecution of physical and sexual abuse cases we are working with others towards the eradication of the plague of child abuse.
For more information about the 120-year plan to eliminate child abuse, please read Dr. Vieth's paper: