Keeping children safe from sexual assault is the responsibility of adults.
It’s a difficult topic, but you can start by educating yourself, inviting others to be a part of your “prevention team” and teaching your children about boundaries and consent. All children are vulnerable and offenders can be anyone, usually someone the victim knows.
In her blog, “How to Talk with Children About Consent,” Feather Berkhower, educator and author focused on the prevention of child sexual assault, offers a staged approach to teaching boundaries and consent, starting with infants and toddlers and building over time.
In addition to teaching boundaries, you can also build a support system of people, called a “prevention team,” which is all of the caregivers in your child’s life with whom you’ve talked about your child’s body-safety rules and expectations for boundaries.
Berkhower talks about how to bring people onto your prevention team in her blog, “Inviting School and Daycare Administrators onto Your Prevention Team.” This piece is a great place for families to start. A few simple questions can help you determine whether a provider has the policies in place to keep your child safe.
As Berkhower says, “Building a prevention team is the cornerstone of child sexual assault prevention.”