Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

In child sexual abuse, strangers aren't the greatest danger, experts say

Date:
April 13, 2012
Source:
Youth Villages
Summary:
Parents drill their children on "stranger danger," but when children are abused its most often by someone they know. This article helps parents protect their children from abuse closer to home: from family members, an adult the family trusts or another child, experts say.

Parents generally teach their children about "stranger danger" from an early age, telling them not to talk to, walk with or take gifts or candy from strangers. But statistics show danger often lurks closer to home. According to numbers provided by the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, the vast majority of children who are sexually abused are abused by someone they know -- most often a family member, an adult the family trusts or, in some instances, another child.

Related Articles


Parents can help protect their children from sexual abuse by talking frankly to them about abuse, starting at a young age with age-appropriate information.

"It's essential that parents have a continuing conversation with their children about sexual abuse," said Kay Knaff, clinical services program manager for Youth Villages, a private nonprofit organization that helps children with emotional, behavioral and mental health issues, as well as children who have been abused or neglected. "This may seem hard to do, but it's the best way to protect your child. It's best to start talking to your children about child abuse as early as age 3 or 4."

Parents should talk to their children about inappropriate touching and other forms of child abuse, and make sure their children know what behavior is right and what is wrong. In addition, Knaff said parents should teach children to say "no" to their abuser if they can, try to get away from the abuser and/or call for help so other people become aware of the situation.

"Child abuse data show that the majority of children keep abuse a secret," Knaff said. "That means it is even more important that parents not only talk to their children about what child abuse is and emphasize that it is never the child's fault. Abuse is always wrong, and children should report it to a trusted adult. Parents need to keep the lines of communication open and seek out their children whenever they feel like something is going on with their child or their child is behaving differently in some way from usual."

To encourage children to report any abuse, parents should let the child know about two or three people designated as safe adults the child can talk to if he or she suffers abuse or feels unsafe.

"Children need to know who they can talk to," Knaff said. "They also need to be encouraged to tell what happened to them to more than one person and keep telling until someone believes them and does something about it."

Knaff also recommends parents specifically teach their children to report any touching that feels uncomfortable or wrong, even if it is by a family member, teacher, coach, pastor or church official, youth group leader or another child.

How to talk to your child about sexual abuse: ■Tell your child about good touch -- a hug or a pat on the back -- and bad touch, when someone is touching your private areas. ■Tell your child nobody -- no family member, teacher, other child or adult -- is allowed to touch him or her in the areas covered by a bathing suit because these are private areas. Exceptions are a parent bathing a young child or helping the child with using the bathroom, as well as a doctor or nurse when examining the child at a doctor's office or healthcare facility. ■Tell your child he or she has permission to tell any adult who touches them in their private areas, "No!" ■Tell your child that if anyone ever touches him or her in any way in their private areas, he or she should tell mom, dad and or grandma/grandpa or another trusted person about it immediately.

Other forms of child sexual abuse are exposure to sexual acts or sexually explicit materials not intended for minors, as well as indecent exposure. Children should be encouraged to talk to the designated safe adults any time they feel unsafe.

Get help immediately If you suspect your child has been abused, act immediately. Either call your local police department, your local rape crisis center, child protective services or the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453), then push 1 to talk to a hotline counselor.

"The best thing you can do for a child who has been abused is to get the child professional help right away," Knaff said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Youth Villages. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Youth Villages. "In child sexual abuse, strangers aren't the greatest danger, experts say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120413100854.htm>.
Youth Villages. (2012, April 13). In child sexual abuse, strangers aren't the greatest danger, experts say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120413100854.htm
Youth Villages. "In child sexual abuse, strangers aren't the greatest danger, experts say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120413100854.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins