Child Abuse Prevention: Know

Last updated: September 30, 2021, at 4:16 p.m. PT

Originally published: September 30, 2021, at 12:53 p.m. PT

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THREE KEY HABITS in the Prevention of Child Abuse: Know, See, & Respond

KNOW and understand common practices of those who harm you and best practices to stop them by recognizing boundary violations and how offenders operate. It’s up to us as adults to do all we can to prevent child sexual abuse and create safe environments for children. Teaching kids about their bodies, recognizing warning signs, and responding to any concerns are important first steps. Even very young children can learn some skills to help keep themselves safe from sexual abuse, but it’s up to parents to help them learn what they need to know. Here are some important things you can teach your child that will help you help them to stay safe.

Teach Your Child Rules About Touching Their Body

Preschoolers understand the idea of rules, such as rules about playing nicely with others and rules about being safe, like wearing seat belts. So as you teach these rules, just add rules about touching their bodies.

First, talk to your child about body parts, including private parts. This will give your child words to use when they need to tell you anything about their body, like an injury or rash or other problem in that area.

Then add rules about private parts, like “Never let other people touch your private parts unless mommy or daddy knows about it.” Children also need to know what to do when someone breaks the rules about touching. Teach them:

  • What to say to someone who breaks the rules about touching
  • To move away from someone who is breaking the rules about touching
  • To tell you or another adult if someone breaks the rules about touching
  • Phrases so they can tell others to stop and practice saying them with your child
  • To say these phrases to anyone who invades their privacy (to other children as well as adults)
  • Tell your child that it’s ok to get out of someone’s lap or pull away from a hug, even if an adult asks them not to
  • To tell you or another adult, like a teacher or caregiver, if someone breaks the rules about touching them


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