Updated: Apr 14
April is #ChildAbusePreventionMonth. The experts at CAC have put together a list of simple ways you can help prevent child abuse.
1. Teach your children the proper names for their body parts. Knowing the correct terminology for genitals decreases a child’s risk for sexual abuse. It’s easier for children to disclose abuse when they know the proper terminology.
2. Join CAC’s Emerging Leaders. The CAC Emerging Leader's mission is to drive additional community outreach, including raising awareness and generating additional sources of funding for CAC.
3. Wear Blue on April 9 for Child Abuse Awareness. Put on your favorite blue shirt and post a photo of yourself with #ChildAbusePreventionMonth to help raise awareness about child abuse. Make sure to tag CAC in all your Wear Blue Day posts!
4. Join CAC’s community movement, Healing Hearts. Help us paint the town for kids and we use one-of-a-kind art sculptures, garden décor and virtual hearts to spread awareness about child abuse. Learn more at cachelps.org/Healing-Hearts
5. Teach your children about appropriate touching. No one has the right to touch them or their private parts if they feel uncomfortable. It’s also important for children to learn respect for others’ boundaries as well.
6. Teach children the difference between “secrets” and “surprises”. Children should never be expected to keep a secret from their parents. If someone asks them to keep a secret, that is a red flag. Surprises, however, are okay – these are things that someone is going to find out soon, such as a birthday party or Christmas gift.
7. Ensure your child’s daycare programs have an “open door” policy. Enroll your child in daycare and other programs that have a parent “open door” policy. Monitor and participate in activities whenever possible.
8. Create a safe environment where your teenagers feel comfortable talking to you about difficult or uncomfortable topics. As children age, create an environment at home in which sexual topics can be discussed comfortably. Discuss current events and publicized reports of sexual abuse to start discussions of safety.
9. Talk to your pediatrician if you have concerns that your child has been abused. Your physician can discuss your concerns, examine your child, and make necessary referrals and report
10. Take a time-out. Stop if you begin to act out frustration or other emotions physically. Find someone to talk with or watch your kids while you take a walk. Call a child abuse prevention hotline if you are worried you may hit your child.
11. Participate in your child’s activities and get to know your child’s friends. Friendships play an important role in a child’s development. Get to know their friends and be sure to talk about peer pressure.
12. Listen to your children and believe what they say. If your child discloses any history of sexual abuse, listen carefully, and take his or her disclosure seriously. Too often, children are not believed, particularly if they implicate a family member as the perpetrator.
13. Know the signs of child sexual abuse. Sexual abuse includes any kind of sexual act or behavior with a child, and includes activities involving genital contact as well as non-contact events- such as showing pornographic images to children, taking pornographic photographs of a child, etc.
14. Teach your child what to do if you and your child become separated while away from home.
15. Be alert for any talk that reveals premature sexual understanding. If your child shows knowledge of age-inappropriate sexual topics, this is a red flag that they have been exposed in some way.
16. Pay attention when someone shows greater than normal interest in your child. Predators often establish an emotional connection with a child, and sometimes the family, to lower the child's inhibitions with the objective of sexual abuse. They will entice children with children special gifts or toys or may ask to take your child on a “special outing” or to special events. – this is referred to as “grooming”.
17. Make certain your child’s school or day care center will release him/her only to you or someone you officially designate.
18. Establish firm technological guidelines and stick to them. Stay attuned to your children’s use of technology – Internet, email, instant messaging, webcam use, peer-to-peer and social networking sites, and cell use, including photo exchanges. Whenever possible, keep the interactions visible and public. Kids, and even adults can easily stumble into inappropriate or possibly dangerous situations and exchanges.
19. Create a family safety plan. Make sure that as adults, you know how to challenge each other when you see any inappropriate behaviors. List who to talk with when you see something you are unsure about and who to call if you believe there is a need to report sexual abuse. Teach children about what to do and who to talk with if they are sexually threatened or touched by someone
20. Model how to say “no”. Teach your children that their “no” will be respected, whether it’s in playing or tickling or hugging and kissing. For instance, if your child does not want to give their aunt a hug, it’s okay to shake hands instead.
21. Set and respect family boundaries. All members of the family have rights to privacy in dressing, bathing, sleeping, and other personal activities. If anyone does not respect these rights, an adult should clearly tell them the family rules.
22. Practice talking about difficult topics. Practice saying the names of body parts out loud, asking questions and confronting behaviors with a co-parent, friend, or any trusted third-party.
23. Make a list of people and organizations you can call for advice, information, and help. Have the list easily available and make sure your child knows where the list is located and who they can call for help.
24. Set realistic expectations for your child’s development. Learn how kids behave and what they can do at different ages. Every child develops in his/her own time. Be reasonable and compassionate if your child is not reaching milestones as quickly as you’d like.
25. Keep your children healthy. Your children should have regular pediatric appointments, be fed consistent meals and get the recommended amount of sleep. Denying children and of these is considered child neglect.
26. Get help with alcohol or drug problems. Children who grow up with a parent or parents who abuse drugs and alcohol are more likely to be abused as children and use drugs and alcohol as adults.
27. Watch your words. Never speak to your child using harsh or belittling words. Negative words leave lasting impacts.
28. Make your home a violence-free zone. Turn off violent TV shows and don't let kids stay under the same roof with an abusive adult.
29. Take breaks from your children. It is important that parents still pursue hobbies and activities that bring them joy outside of their families. This helps relieve stress.
30. Share CAC’s Child Abuse Prevention tips with your family and friends. Help us spread the word about Child Abuse Prevention Month by sharing our tips on your own social media accounts.