Sunday, November 01, 2015

SUNDAY SPECIAL: Protect children from abuse

(Reproduced from the Hindu)

With alarming increase in child sexual abuse incidents, it is time to talk to your children about  the difference between a good touch and bad touch.

Abduction and sexual victimisation are the urban realities of the Capital, which constantly haunt every parent. Frightened, cautious parents are pulling in all help they can garner to ensure that children stay safe in the city.

What is Child Sexual Abuse?

“Sexual abuse is when a child or young person is pressurised, forced or tricked into taking part in any kind of sexual activity with an adult or young person”. CSA can involve many activities including:
  • » Fondling/touching/kissing of genitals and other areas 
    of the body
  • » Penetration with penis, digit or object
  • » Exposing genitals or sexual material to child
  • » Talking to a child inappropriately, graphically and 
    explicitly about sex
  • » Asking a child to touch their own genitals or 
    another persons
  • » Non-forced sex with an underage child

What can we reinforce?

Children must be taught that if something is happening that makes them feel uncomfortable, they must tell somebody they trust.

Help children realise that they have the right to say ‘no’ to those who would abuse their authority as adults. We must make children aware that their safety is more important than good manners.

Teach children in an open way from very young about correct biological names of body parts so that they don’t feel embarrassed talking about it and in an abusive situation the child understands what is happening.

Safety tips

  • 1. Tell your child their address and phone number
  • 2. If you go somewhere, where you become separated from your child, have a ‘meet place’
  • 3. Make sure they know how to dial the emergency services and what to say
  • 4. Make sure they also have the number of another trusted adult written down somewhere
  • 5. Buy them a travel card (if old enough) and a phone card for emergencies
  • 6. Teach your child the buddy system – i.e. walk in pairs or groups

Talk to them about:

  • 1. Good touch is touch that feels safe – or touch that makes us feel warm and makes us smile
  • 2. Bad touch hurts their body or feelings

What is bad touch?
A sexual abuse touch is something that makes the child feel scared, anxious or uncertain. It is a touch on any part of their body that would normally be covered if they wore a swimming costume. Explain to them that this touch may feel “nice” or exciting, but that it may also feel strange. If they are asked not to tell anyone about this touch then that is sexual abuse touch. Make it clear that sexual abuse touch can also happen with their clothes on.

As a parent watch out for adults who:

  • 1. Refuse children privacy or invade their privacy
  • 2. Insist on physical affection even when the child looks uncomfortable
  • 3. Insist on a ‘special time’ alone from other adults and children
  • 4. Spend a lot of time with children instead of adults
  • 5. Buy children expensive gifts for no apparent reason
  • 6. Appear to put a lot of effort into getting close to children
  • 7. Have had previous allegations against them before
  • 8. Make you feel uneasy…even if you cant put your finger on why
  • 9. Your child or other children seem afraid of a person
  • 10. Your child or other children do not want to be alone with the person