Parents are integral to protecting children and preventing child sexual abuse.
It is adults’ responsibility to keep children safe. Parents in the Know is an innovative practice-based child sexual abuse prevention program.
Childhood experiences can have great impact in the lives of adults. The positive experiences of safe and healthy relationships can lead our children to success in adulthood while negative experiences of sexual abuse and neglect can lead to challenges as an adult. The Center for Disease and Prevention and the Kaiser Permanente’s Health Appraisal Clinic conducted the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACES) to investigate the association between childhood trauma and health and well-being later in life. ACES found that negative childhood experiences such as sexual abuse are connected with poor health conditions later in life including chronic diseases, mental health and substance abuse disorders, eating disorders, suicide and numerous other conditions.
Adults must be educated and build the skills necessary to intervene and prevent childhood trauma. Adults can create a safe and healthy world for children by stopping child sexual abuse.
Adults who sexually abuse children gradually build the trust of the child and the adults responsible for the child’s well-being, giving gifts, or favors, separating the child from others, creating secrecy and violating boundaries. Child sexual abuse does not have to involve penetration, force, pain or even touch. Child sexual abuse occurs when a person exposes a child to any sexual act or behaviors. It is never the child’s fault.
Parents in the Know consists of four 2-hour interactive sessions to help parents and guardians build, practice and strengthen skills to prevent child sexual abuse.
Promote safe and respectful behaviors:
- Take action when another adult acts inappropriately with a child or children, such as insisting on spending time alone with the child or not respecting the child’s boundaries.
- Become comfortable talking with children in your life about their bodies and development.
Recognize questionable behaviors in adults, such as:
- Insisting on hugging, touching, kissing, tickling, wrestling with or holding a child even when the child does not want this affection.
- Repeatedly offers to babysit children for free.
- Discusses age-inappropriate topics with a child.
- Actively makes efforts to spend time alone with children.
- Expresses voyeuristic behaviors, such as watching children bathe or change in their pajamas.
Talk with children about respectful relationships, age-appropriate sexual development, sexual abuse prevention and healthy sexuality:
- Teach your child the correct names of all the different body parts.
- Let your child know he or she is in control of who touches his or her body, and how.
- Teach your child appropriate and inappropriate behaviors.
- Help your child establish personal space.
“ I feel much more confident to react in situations in which children might be in danger. I feel much more assertive and have a clear picture of how to define boundaries and tell someone to leave my child alone.”
— Parent in Allegheny County
Parents in the Know was developed by Pittsburgh Action Against Rape and supported by funding from the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape’s Vision of Hope Fund.
A sample of the curriculum can be viewed in the PDFs below. For more information or to purchase a full version of the curriculum, send us an email!