We’re experts in the field of child maltreatment and trauma. Our resources are meant to help parents, teachers and any community members learn more about Adverse Childhood Experiences, child abuse signs and ways to prevent abuse.


What is Child Sexual Abuse?

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

“Child sexual abuse is any interaction between a child and an adult (or another child) in which the child is used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or an observer. Sexual abuse can include both touching and non-touching behaviors. Touching behaviors may involve touching of the vagina, penis, breasts or buttocks, oral-genital contact, or sexual intercourse. Non-touching behaviors can include voyeurism (trying to look at a child’s naked body), exhibitionism, or exposing the child to pornography.Abusers often do not use physical force, but may use play, deception, threats, or other forms of coercion to engage children and maintain their silence. Abusers frequently employ persuasive and manipulative tactics to keep the child engaged. These tactics—referred to as “grooming”—may include buying gifts or arranging special activities, which can further confuse the victim.” 

Who are "typical" child abusers?

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

  • Studies suggest that as much as 90% of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone the child knows and trusts. “Child sexual abuse can take place within the family, by a parent, step-parent, sibling or other relative; or outside the home, for example, by a friend, neighbor, child care person, teacher, or stranger.”

What are the long-term effects of Child Abuse if left untreated?

National Center for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety

Depression and thoughts of suicide

Sexual anxiety and disorders, including having too many or unsafe sexual partners

Difficulty setting safe limits with others (e.g., saying no) and relationship problems

Poor body image and low self-esteem

Unhealthy behaviors, such as alcohol, drugs, self-harm, or eating problems. These behaviors are often used to try to hide painful emotions related to the abuse

Girl with Bookshelves

Books on prevention

Miles is the Boss of His Body
Miles Is The Boss Of His Body is a fun, engaging way to explore the potentially difficult topic of kids’ personal safety.
I Said No
I Said No! uses kid-friendly language and illustrations to help parents and concerned adults give kids guidance they can understand, practice and use.
Fred the Fox Shouts, "No!"
Fred is your everyday fox child helping to convey an important lesson in a clear, direct way.
Body Safety Education
A step-by-step guide for parents and carers on how to protect children from sexual abuse through personal Body Safety Education.
A Secret Safe to Tell
This beautifully illustrated book encourages and empowers children to speak up if someone is touching them in away that makes them uncomfortable.
A Little Book About Safety
When adorable little Hugo Hippo heads out for a day of fun with his family at The Happy Herd Community Pool, he is confronted by all sorts of opportunities to make choices about his own safety.
Your Body Belongs to You
In simple, reassuring language, the author explains that a child's body is his or her own.
Those are MY Private Parts
The book gives parents a great starting point for having important, candid discussions with their children about recognizing and preventing sexual abuse.
The Swimsuit Lesson
Written by a police sergeant, this beautifully illustrated story book includes a separate step-by-step parent's guide providing a realistic view of the danger facing children today.
The Trouble with Secrets
Presents situations which illustrate when to share and when to keep a secret.
Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept
Sensitively broaches the subject of keeping children safe from inappropriate touch.
My Body Belongs to Me, From my Head to My Toes
Now every parent, grandparent, or teacher can explain to a child the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching in a way that young boys and girls can understand.
My Body! What I Say Goes!
A book to empower and teach children about personal body safety, feelings, safe and unsafe touch, private parts, secrets and surprises, consent, and respectful relationships
Some Parts are NOT for Sharing
Travel with a pair of friendly fish as they learn about what parts of our bodies we share with others.
My Body Belongs to Me
A book about body safety
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Image by Eleventh Wave

To report suspected abuse in Illinois:

Call 911 or 1-800-25-ABUSE (1-800-252-2873)

Outside of Illinois, call 1-800-422-4453.

The Children's Advocacy Center of North & Northwest Cook County

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