Wednesday, April 7, 2010

7 steps to protecting our children: step 2

Step 2
Minimize opportunity.

If you eliminate or reduce one-adult/one-child situations, you’ll dramatically lower the risk of sexual abuse for children.

More than 80% of sexual abuse cases occur in one-adult/one-child situations.

Reduce the risk. Protect children.

◆ Understand that abusers often become friendly with potential victims and their families, enjoying family activities, earning trust, and gaining time alone with children.
◆ Think carefully about the safety of any one-adult/one-child situations. Choose group situations when possible.
◆ Think carefully about the safety of situations in which older youth have access to younger children. Make sure that multiple adults are present who can supervise.
◆ Set an example by personally avoiding one-adult/one-child situations with children other than your own.
◆ Monitor children’s Internet use. Offenders use the Internet to lure children into physical contact.

“An organization in my community has programs for children, but puts no limits on one-adult/one-child situations. Should I be concerned?”
Reduce the risk. Insist on policy.

◆ Create and lobby for policies reducing or eliminating one-adult/one-child situations in all youth-serving organizations, such as faith groups, sports teams, and school clubs. These policies should ensure that all activities can be interrupted and observed.
◆ Talk with program administrators about the supervision of older youth who have responsibility for the care of children.
◆ Insist on screenings that include criminal background checks, personal interviews, and professional recommendations for all adults who serve children. Avoid programs that do not use ALL of these methods.
◆ Insist that youth-serving organizations train their staff and volunteers to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.
◆ Ensure that youth-serving organizations have policies for dealing with suspicious situations
and reports of abuse.

One-on-one time with a trusted adult is healthy and valuable for a child. It builds self-esteem and deepens relationships. There are things you can do to protect children when you want them to have time alone with another adult.

◆ Drop in unexpectedly when the child is alone with any adult, even trusted family members.
◆ Make sure outings are observable, if not by you, then by others.
◆ Ask the adult about the specifics of the planned activities before the child leaves your care. Notice the adult’s ability to be specific.
◆ Talk with the child when he or she returns. Notice the child’s mood and whether the child can tell you with confidence how the time was spent.
◆ Find a way to tell the adults who care for children that you and the child are educated about child sexual abuse. Be that direct.

step one

taken from

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