Teaching children about body parts is not enough to keep them safe from sexual abuse.
In the wake of so many incidents of child abuse, many parents wish to know to protect their kids. Even very young children must know how to keep their body safe. This must be taught to them by parents and teachers along with other basic lessons they learn in kindergarten.
If young kids can learn about red light, green light and other traffic songs when they are not going to cross the road or drive, then it is equally important to teach them about body safety. After all, they learn about body parts anyway.
Here’s how parents must approach the subject of body safety:
Point, Listen, Avoid Threatening
- Point to the 4 important parts while teaching children about good touch bad touch. Keep it simple- the lips, the chest, the part between your legs and your bottom. Use bath time or dressing up time to playfully introduce the concept.
- It is easy for the perpetrators to target kids as kids won’t tell! They lack language development. And even if they do, parents don’t believe their children, and brush it off as imagination. So believe your child and listen to him/her.
- Stop spanking and threatening children as part of your parenting style. Research has shown that sexual abusers usually use some form of ‘threat’ to get kids to keep quiet about it.
Watch this video with your child.
Be Vigilant, Know Rules
- In most cases of sexual abuse, the family knows the abusers. So ensure that you really ‘know’ people before trusting your child in their care and screen all those who interact with your child in places such as daycares, classes etc.
- Working parents especially find it difficult to keep children in a safe environment, so make the rules clear to the daycare or the person who takes care and to your child.
- Read the POCSO Act because child sexual abuse is not just about ‘penetration’ or ‘rape’. It starts with tickling, fondling, showing obscene material etc. and then moves to other levels of abuse.
Background checks in schools
- Schools must ensure that staff like drivers, attendants, bais, watchman are registered at the nearest police station. They must also have their Adhaar card, ration card and driving license copies.
- All teachers appointed must get their background checks done. If they have joined the school from another. That school must be called to find out the reason for them leaving it.
- Photos, documents copies of all staff must be in the school’s possession, this will help in tracing in case they abscond after an incident.
Trusting the world outside has become difficult for parents. But for children to grow and learn, exposure to different experiences is a must. All we can do as caregivers is be aware and vigilant and equip our kids with knowledge to keep away from harm.
Also read: Empowering Children Against Abuse
Explore the entire collection of articles: Child Safety
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