Children and personal safety

Talking with your child about personal safety

Open communication throughout childhood is very important

  • Talk with your child every day and take time to really listen and observe. Learn as many details as you can about your child’s activities and feelings. Encourage him to share problems and concerns with you.
  • Open up healthy communication with your children about sexuality using simple and accurate language, thus breaking the cultural silence on the subject. Molesters rely upon our silence.
  • Teach children to identify their feelings, including the feeling of being mixed-up or confused. If they ever feel mixed-up or sad because someone asks them to keep a secret, they can ask you for help.
  • Remind your child that sometimes we like touching and sometimes we don’t, but that touching is never a secret. Children can say "no touching" and they shouldn’t touch someone else who says, "No touching."

If you think your child has been abused

  • Believe your child. Children rarely lie about sexual abuse.
  • Praise the child for telling you about the experience.
  • Convey your support for the child. A child’s greatest fear is that it is their fault. Telling your child he is not responsible is extremely important.
  • Control your reaction. Do not let the child see how upset you may be.
  • Report the suspected abuser directly to the police or Child Protective Services, S.C. Department of Social Services (S.C. DSS) at 800-768-5558.
  • Remember that taking action is most important. If you don’t, other children will continue to be at risk.
  • Don’t blame yourself if your child becomes a victim. Sexual abuse happens and many people who molest children have access to them through their jobs, family lives or community activities.