What to do as a parent
Many essentially well-informed parents are still unsure how to protect their children from a possible sexual assault or what they should do to protect another child that they suspect to be a victim of sexual abuse in its environment.
Talk to your children
The most important thing that parents can do is talk to their children and teach them some basic principles from an early age:
- I have the right to say NO to any action that makes me feel scared or uncomfortable.
- My body belongs to me. Everyone must respect that. I can even say NO to someone I know or love.
- Nobody is allowed to touch me in my private parts. If it is necessary for a doctor or nurse to do so, they will have to tell me the reason and ask me first.
- I distinguish “bad” from “good” secrets. A bad secret is what makes me feel scared, awkward, uncomfortable or bad. A good secret is a surprise-party or an unexpected gift. I speak directly to my parents or an adult that I trust about what is happening to me or is worrying me.
It is the parents’ responsibility to be aware of what is going on and protect their children. We watch out for unjustified marks, scrapes or scratches on our child’s body. We are on guard for unreasonable changes in the child’s behavior.
Being alert to the behavior of all other adults involved in the care and instruction of our children is necessary. The rules of protection are valid for all.
Privacy and respect towards our child are non-negotiable.
Read here all the informative brochures of ELIZA.
What to do if we suspect that a child is a victim of sexual abuse
Children are often afraid to talk about what is happening to them. If you suspect that there is a possibility of a child being sexually abused, you should do the following:
- Stay in contact with the child and give it the chance to talk about what’s happening.
- Take notes of dates and incidents in order to detect any changes in the child’s behavior.
- Talk to the teacher or pediatrician of the child about your concerns.
- Call the 115 25 Helpline of the Together for Children Association – with which ELIZA is cooperating – and report the incident.
Sexual abuse, particularly when it involves our close environment is an unpleasant issue that people often refuse to believe. Their initial reaction is that it would be better not to get involved because it may all be in their imagination. This is a mistake.
Do not hesitate to report an incident of suspected child sexual abuse. Do not wait until you are absolutely sure. Trust your instinct and break the silence.
Children depend on us, adults, to protect them and it is our responsibility to do so.