Child Sexual Abuse Prevention

Basic Prevention to Teach Children

Teach children about the appropriate names for their body parts.

Children who know their anatomy are less likely to be a target of an abuser. Teaching your child anatomy can also create a healthy and safe space for them to reach out to you if something does happen. Additionally, children the correct names of their body parts can provide children with the language to disclose abuse more easily. Although discussing body parts with a child may feel uncomfortable, this is a basic and powerful prevention tool really helps.

Teach them the Safe Touch Rules.

  1. Your private parts are between your knees and your nose—where your bathing suit goes.
  2. Your body belongs to you, and only you.
  3. If someone tries to touch your private parts, they should yell “NO!!” Then they should run away and try to get to a safe place where they should tell a grown-up that they know and trust.

Remember it Is NEVER the Child’s Fault

If something happens, it’s never the child’s fault. Remind them that they did a good job telling an adult. They were very brave and you’re proud of them.


Teaching consent from an early age is a great tool for preventing sexual violence and reinforces the idea that they have ownership over their bodies.

How to Teach Children About Consent – F.R.I.E.S


  • F-Freely Given – Consent Must be Freely Given – Consenting is a choice you make without pressure, manipulation, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • R-Reversible – Consent is Reversible – Anyone can change their mind about what they feel like doing, anytime. Even if you’ve done it before, and even if you’re both naked in bed.
  • I-Informed – You Can’t Consent if You Are Not Fully Informed – You can only consent to something if you have the full story. For example, if someone says they’ll use a condom and then they don’t, there isn’t full consent.
  • E-Enthusiastic – Not Expected – When it comes to sex, you should only do stuff you WANT to do, not things that you feel you’re expected to do.
  • S-Specific – Consent is Specific – Consent is specific to each individual activity and must be given for each activity. Saying yes to one thing (like going to the bedroom to make out) doesn’t mean you’ve said yes to anything else (like having sex).

Note for parents and caregivers:

Consent isn’t only necessary for sexual acts. Asking for consent ranges from asking to touch someone else’s property to someone’s body. It’s important to model this behavior for children. 

Additionally, we recommend not forcing children to give hugs or kisses to family members or family friends unless they want to do so. This demonstrates that they always have control over their bodies not just when an adult says they do.

Talk about secrets.

Perpetrators will oftentimes exploit children by making them keep secrets. Assure your children that they can always come to you, especially if they have been asked to keep something hidden. If they witness somebody touching someone else inappropriately, remind them that this is not a secret to be kept as well.

Children may not disclose abuse for a variety of reasons. They can be afraid of hurting the perpetrator or fear that their family will break apart. Child victims might also feel ashamed, embarrassed, and helpless due to the power imbalance between the child and adult. It is important to create an environment where children are comfortable talking about difficult issues like child abuse.

Reassure them that they won’t get in trouble.

Young children often fear getting in trouble or upsetting their parents by asking questions or talking about their experiences. Be a safe place for your child to share information about things that they have questions about or that make them uncomfortable. Remind them they won’t be punished for sharing this information with you.

Use careful language.

Child sexual abuse is a difficult topic to discuss, and children may feel ashamed or embarrassed by the conversation. Choose words that are age-appropriate and be mindful of expressing your own emotions while your child talks about their experiences, as these will shape how they view the conversation.

Be available to answer questions.

Child Abuse is a confusing and upsetting issue for children. Encourage them to ask questions, or even just talk openly about their feelings. This can help them process the situation and begin healing.

Reassure the child that they are not responsible.

Child abuse is never the fault of the victim. Assure your child that they did nothing wrong and that it is okay to talk about what happened or how they feel. Additionally, helping them understand that the abuse was not their fault can help promote a healthy self-image.

Validate the child’s feelings.

Provide a safe environment where your child can express any fear, anger, sadness, and other emotions without judgment. Child abuse can leave long-lasting psychological trauma and it is important to remind your child that their feelings are valid.

By taking these steps, you can create a space where children feel safe and open up about Child Abuse. Establishing a trusting relationship with your child is the best way to ensure they come to you if they ever need support or have questions.

Help is Available

Remember – you don’t have to go it alone. If a child has disclosed abuse to you, and you are not sure what to do, or you would like guidance and/or support, please call our HOTLINE at: 215-985-3333 any time, day or night.