Strategies for Preventing Child Sexual Abuse

Those who victimize children are responsible for their actions but, as caring adults, there are steps we can each take to minimize risks and keep children safer.

  • Learn about child sexual abuse, including how to recognize possible signs of abuse and respond to concerns.
  • Be prepared to report concerns or suspicions to the Department of Social Services or Law Enforcement. Contact Dove House if you have questions or need support to do this.
  • Seek information about activities in which children will be involved, including policies and procedures for supervision and safety. Steps should be taken to minimize isolated, one-on-one interactions.
  • Talk with adults who will be responsible for caring for or supervising children. Ask about screening, training, and monitoring of employees and volunteers.
  • Learn about and watch for “grooming” behavior in adults who interact with children.
  • Ensure that children and teens know the behavior you expect from them, and the behavior you expect from adults and other youth – including those behaviors that would be concerning, inappropriate or dangerous.
  • Talk with children and teens about their bodies, boundaries, and sex. Encourage questions and conversation.
  • Teach children proper names for all their body parts, including those that are “private”.
  • Empower youth to be the “boss” of their bodies. Allow them to choose how they greet or show affection to friends and family members. Do not force children to give hugs or kisses.
  • Discourage children from keeping secrets – teach the difference between “secrets” and “surprises”.
  • Respect privacy and personal space – encourage independence in toileting, dressing and hygiene.
  • Monitor children and teen’s television, video, and internet usage/viewing. Exposure to violence or pornography can impact healthy development.
  • Participate in Child Abuse Prevention Month events in April.