Tips for parents: Playing an active role in preventing child sexual abuse

Fully protecting all children from sexual abuse may be impossible, but local and national agencies are allocating resources for parents in order to reduce the risk.

The Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, known as RAINN, advises being actively involved in children’s lives and encouraging them to speak up.

There are safe ways to reduce sexual abuse and increase child safety. Parents should have conversations with children about boundaries and about their bodies. Parents should let children know that they won’t get in trouble for speaking up about these topic, RAINN says.

Local resources are also available for education and prevention of child sexual abuse. Cati Strempel is a facilitator locally for Protect our Children which uses Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children training curriculum to educate adults on how to become aware of child sexual abuse as well as how to prevent and appropriately respond.

“There is a team of trained Darkness to Light facilitators working collaboratively to train adults locally to prevent child sexual abuse. You can find out about upcoming or online training at https://www.d2l.org/get-trained,” Strempel says.
Douglas C.A.R.E.S. (Douglas Child Abuse Response and Evaluation Services) and Compass Behavioral Health (formerly Community Health Alliance) are other important local resources. Douglas C.A.R.E.S. is a child abuse prevention center for Douglas County which offers intervention and coordination services for child abuse cases. Compass offers 24-hour crisis help at 2700 Stewart Parkway, Annex B in Roseburg. Their number is 541-440-3532.

The Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, known as RAINN, is another helpful resource. It clarifies two legal charges that are often confused: child abuse (with sexual components) and child sexual abuse.

“When a perpetrator intentionally harms a minor physically, psychologically, sexually, or by acts of neglect, the crime is known as child abuse,” RAINN explains.

Additionally, “Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse that includes sexual activity with a minor. A child cannot consent to any form of sexual activity, period. When a perpetrator engages with a child this way, they are committing a crime that can have lasting effects on the victim for years. Child sexual abuse does not need to include physical contact between a perpetrator and a child,” RAINN says.

The term child sexual assault is somewhat similar referring to “contacts or interactions between a child and an adult when the child is being used for sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or another person when the perpetrator or another person is in a position of power or control over the victim,” according to the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect.

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