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! 
 
 
Consequences of breaking the boundaries should also be clearly established and documented ahead of time which removes the need for decisions about repercussions after the fact when emotions are likely to influence the decision. For parents, boundaries fall into the 11 key categories below. While youth-serving organizations are responsible for implementing the boundaries identified in #6, it is still up to parents to insist that the organizations where their children participate have implemented formal boundaries that minimize the risk of sexual abuse.
         
  1. In Your Home
  2. In Other People's Homes
  3. In the Neighborhood
  4. Child-to-Child Boundaries
  5. In Cars and Buses
  6. In Youth-Serving Organizations
    • On-Site Boundaries
    • Off-Site Boundaries
    • Off-Hours Boundaries
    • Electronic Communication and Social Media Boundaries
    • Child-to-Child Boundaries
    • Gift Boundaries
  7. At the Doctors and In Hospitals
  8. Out and About in the Community
  9. On Vacation
  10. On the Internet
  11. With Registered Sex Offenders

 

Additional boundaries may apply for children with disabilities, depending on their ability to understand boundaries, their physical ability to remove themselves from danger and their ability to communicate concerns and/or inappropriate behavior after the fact.

As an advocate, it is important for you to set and enforce boundaries as they apply to your own family so that you are leading by example. In addition, you have the opportunity to educate parents and leaders in youth-serving organizations on the importance of this crucial best practice. Youth-serving organizations include schools, preschools, daycare centers, after school programs, sports leagues, youth ministries, boys and girls clubs, kids camps, as well as music, dance, theater and art programs. Imagine how empowered our children would be if they could expect the same boundaries to be honored in all organizations where they participate!