Child Abuse Prevention: Respond

Last updated: October 1, 2021, at 6:45 a.m. PT

Originally published: September 30, 2021, at 12:55 p.m. PT

Child Tax Credit Expansion Infographic

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

RESPOND and take action in response to behaviors recognized as being inappropriate or questionable. If you see warning signs from your child or you hear about something that sounds like abuse, report it immediately. If your child tells you about sexual abuse or inappropriate behavior, your response plays a big role in how your child understands abuse and how they recover.

1. Stay calm
2. Comfort your child
3. Listen carefully
4. Ask for examples
5. Do not threaten or criticize the person your child is accusing

Reporting Concerns or Rule Violations

Child predators break rules to gain privacy, access, and a relationship with children. People who do not follow child safety rules put all children at risk.

What are 'Red Flag Behaviors'?

  • Violations of Code of Conduct
  • Allowing children to sit on their lap
  • Tickling, wrestling, or touching that seems odd
  • Giving participants gifts
  • Being one-to-one with a child where they are not visible and interruptible by others
  • Violations of rules/boundaries in general with children
  • Neglecting or leaving children unsupervised
  • Touching participants in their bathing suit area
  • Contacting minors via phone, online, or in person outside of the Y
  • Accessing or referencing child pornography
  • Taking pictures of minors on their personal devices
  • Making excuses as to why the rule violation is okay

If you Observe Rule Breaking Red Flag Behaviors or have any Concerns:

  • Interrupt the behavior and explain the rule
  • Let a Y Program Director or Branch Executive Director know about your concern
  • Let Y leadership know by calling (206) 749-7590 or emailing

Reporting Suspected Abuse

Washington State asks that anyone that suspects that a child or vulnerable adult is being abused or neglected, report it to proper authorities.

  • If the person is in immediate danger/harm, call 911
  • If the person is not in immediate danger/harm, call Abuse Reporting Hotline at (866) END-HARM or (866) 363-4276


Category: Youth Programs