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November 10, 2011 Print

Protecting Your Children from Sex Abuse

by Chad Hills

When the news broke of Penn State’s football coach Joe Paterno’s alleged failure to report professed instances of sexual abuse – by defensive coach Jerry Sandusky – to proper officials, I wondered “How many stories like this are never reported and never surface?”

Such stories set off protective, internal alarms within most parents, but how many of us know where, how or when to report sexual abuse? How do we protect our children and how should we talk with them – and warn them – about sexual abuse?

Bonnie Rochman, writer for TIME Magazine’s online article, “Penn State Scandal: Can We Trust Coaches with Our Kids?”, states it well:

We’re pondering what to say to our children about the X-rated details and how to say it. We’re uneasy because every day, we cart our kids to soccer practice, to Little League, to gymnastics, leaving them in the hands of adults we often don’t know very well but assume have our children’s best interests at heart. In theory, they do.

 The TIME Magazine article provides decent advice to parents, but I’d like to provide CitizenLink readers with some additional resources to protect your family and your children.

Whether your children are babies, toddlers, adolescents or college students – at school, church, sports activities, jobs or family events – they are not immune from sexual abuse.

But kids need to know what sexual abuse is, that it’s wrong and how to avoid it – or report it. They need to be able to differentiate between what’s acceptable versus unacceptable touch and behavior from other kids and adults. Babies and toddlers are too young to understand, so cautious parental oversight and discernment is necessary.

Who’s suspect? Anyone can be a perpetrator, but many cases are reported with relatives, friends and family members. Also, if you work with children or youth, this information may be a valuable resource to share with parents.

 Your children are your responsibility. That includes protecting them from – and teaching them about –  potential dangers related to sexual perpetrators. Also, you are responsible for training them about God’s design for sex.


Helpful Information – Protecting Your Children, Preventing Sexual Abuse