Guarding Against Child Sexual Abuse

Service member hugging her daughter

No parent wants to consider that his or her child could become the victim of sexual abuse. Most people avoid the topic of sexual abuse because it is uncomfortable and they think it can't happen to their children. However, you can help protect your children by providing careful supervision, establishing open communication and giving them the information they need to be safe. It's normal to feel uneasy talking about this subject or worry about confusing your children, but children as young as age 3 can be given tools that will help keep them safe.

Child sexual abuse, by definition, is the exploitation or coercion of a child for the sexual gratification of another, typically an adult or older child. It is estimated that up to one-in-four girls and one-in-six boys are sexually abused prior to the age of 18. While most people teach their children the concept of "stranger danger," approximately 90 percent of victims know their abuser whether the person is a family member, friend, teacher, coach or neighbor.

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