Child Advocates

Advocates: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practices Introduction

 

Child sexual abuse is predictable and preventable when we surround children with knowledgeable and outspoken adults and we all play a part in the solution. 
Predict: is to declare or indicate in advance; especially to foretell on the basis of observation, experience, or scientific reason.(1)

 

There are over 39 million survivors of child sexual abuse in America.(2)

From them experts have documented time after time, behavior patterns that appear BEFORE abuse occurs. So, with the right training, we can recognize when children are in danger and put best practices in place to directly reduce the risk of abuse in our homes, neighborhoods and youth-serving organizations. Child advocates play a crucial role in educating their local community members.

Read more: Advocates: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practices Introduction

Advocates: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #1 - Determine Your Starting Point

Personal Starting Point
Each of us has a set of past experiences that impact how we feel about the topic of child sexual abuse. Some people know someone who was abused or they may have been abused themselves. Others may struggle with an attraction to children or the thought of sexualizing a child simply destroys their sense of a safe world. These are experiences and feelings that could create a lot of discomfort.

Read more: Advocates: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #1 - Determine Your Starting Point

Advocates: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #3 - Set, Document and Enforce Boundaries

Written boundaries are at the heart of protecting children. Without them, every day is filled with a myriad of subjective choices that are far too often hindered by our emotions, opinions, relationships, and quest for personal gain (acceptance, love, security, money, etc.). When boundaries are established and documented in writing, they provide a mechanism for objective decision making that applies to everyone who comes in contact with our children. No exceptions! 
 

Advocates: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #4 - Regularly and Actively Assess Behaviors

As you can imagine and have probably experienced for yourself, child sexual abuse is a difficult subject for most adults to talk about. So, adoption of new access limits, boundaries, and responses are not likely to happen unless you tie these new behaviors into your existing routine in ways that provide opportunities to embrace the new plan.  
 

Advocates: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #5 - Create an Accountability Team

Child sexual abuse is predictable and preventable when we surround children with knowledgeable and outspoken adults. Whether you have ever stopped to acknowledge it or not, our children are surrounded by adults...but are they knowledgeable and outspoken about child sexual abuse on behalf of our children?
 

Advocates: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #6 - Educate and Empower Children

Now that you are used to either requiring or recommending adults in your community to take a child sexual abuse prevention training class, it's time to empower the children. Educating and empowering children to experience a life free from sexual abuse is a multi-step process that unfolds as they mature and includes the five key components listed below.

Read more: Advocates: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #6 - Educate and Empower Children

Advocates: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #7 - Pre-Establish Your Response and Take Bold Action

Adopt Standards for Responding to Observed, Disclosed or Suspected Abuse
Child sexual abuse is a crime and cases should never be handled "in-house." Unfortunately through many high profile cases, we've seen the devastating impact of youth-serving organizations attempting to resolve the issue internally. Victims were not validated and provided an opportunity to heal, and child molesters were not held accountable for their actions and in many cases they continued to have access to children resulting in additional victims.  
 

Advocates: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #8 - Provide Support and Resource Referrals

20% of the population in America has been sexually abused.(8) That's more people than the Center for Disease Control estimates will get the flu each year.(9) So needless to say, as you implement and teach others the Child Sexual Abuse Best Practices program, you will be talking with children, teens and adults who have personally experienced sexual abuse as well as parents who know or suspect their child has been abused. It's also inevitable that at some point you will be speaking with someone who is attracted to children, who may or may not have crossed the line and abused a child.

Read more: Advocates: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #8 - Provide Support and Resource Referrals

Advocates: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practices Summary

A day does not go by without seeing a case of child sexual abuse in the news - at home and in youth-serving organizations. It is clearly a pandemic that knows no boundaries including gender, race, religion, geography, or socio-economic status.

20% of our children will be sexually abused by the age of 18.(8) Parents and leaders of youth-serving organizations are who grant access to children and they are responsible for being proactive in their efforts to protect children. As an advocate, you are responsible for teaching them how. Our kids are counting on us all to do our part!

At TAALK, we understand the grooming behaviors that happen BEFORE abuse occurs and have developed this program specifically to combat those behaviors. Although you will not be able to stop every case of child sexual abuse in your community, this program will take you and the adults and the children in your community well beyond awareness and empower all of you with an extensive list of actions that will have a direct impact on the safety of children.