Child abuse is one of the hardest topics to discuss and one of the hardest situations to be in, whether you are parent or child. But unfortunately we cannot continue to brush it under the rug and pretend it doesn't exist. It does and it is a mean, ugly monster but one that acts friendly and sweet only to trap you in it's arms and leave your physically and emotionally bruised. It is your responsibility, as a parent or guardian to be vigilant and to protect your children from abusers, here are some tips recommended by psychologists and police officers regarding this issue.
Communicate with your child
Have an open line of communication between yourself and your children from a very young age, ask them about their day, what they read, what they drew, who they spoke to, who they are friends with. Anything that is on their mind. Don't interrogate, rather be curious. Make it a habit to pull them aside every day after school but be sure not to scold or judge them and make it a relaxed, casual conversation.
Don't trust anyone
Do not trust anyone with your child, always be vigilant and make sure that there is at least 2 people with your child at all times. The majority of sexual predators are family or friends of family (some can even be fathers) and it takes less than five minutes for these predators to strike.
Look out for warning signs
Sexual predators will try and groom your child, they will offer them something they really want, it could be sweets at a playground or playing video games at their house over a period of months. Grooming is their way of manipulating you and your child and building trust and familiarity. If there is an adult who constantly wants to play with your child (like i said before this is including family) then that could be a sign, if they are offering your child something you don't allow (Mobile, toys or drugs) then that is another sign. If they are never interested in adults and are always trying to involve themselves with your child's matters and asking you about your children constantly then that is another warning sign. Be vigilant
Stalk your child
No we don't mean follow your child and hide behind bushes with binoculars (don't do that) but always know where your child is and who they are hanging out with. Make sure there is a trustworthy chaperone with them during their outings with friends or insist you go with them. Check their phones often as sexual predators can attack them online or offer to meet them through chat services; asking for their pictures and private details.
No means No!
Teach your child that 'No means No!' and show them where their private parts are and tell them that only you or a doctor can touch these parts and if anyone else touches them then they should tell someone and they won't get in trouble. A sexual predator will use the line 'No one will believe you' to silence their victims. Don't react harshly to small mistakes your child makes so that they are not too scared to tell you when it counts. This needs to be taught from a very young age. Maybe draw a diagram and help your child identify their private parts and not-so-private parts that are okay to touch.
Trust your child
Every mother knows her child and if your child is acting strange, hiding away or not interacting with you or others as normal, refusing to go with a specific person, sleep disruptions, feeding problems or anything out of the ordinary then there could be a problem and you need to investigate. Trust your child and know that they couldn't possibly lie about something like this. Again, be vigilant.
Have I missed out any tips? Leave them in the comments below!