7 Steps to Protecting Our Children from Sexual Abuse
7 Steps to Protecting Our Children is an introductory guide for responsible adults interested in the prevention of child sexual abuse. The 7 Steps outline the Darkness to Light core principles for preventing, recognizing, and reacting responsibly to child sexual abuse and form the framework for the adult training program, Stewards of Children.
What is Child Sexual Abuse?
- Any sexual act between an adult and a minor or between two minors when one exerts power over the other.
- Forcing, coercing, or persuading a child to engage in any type of sexual act. This, of course, includes sexual contact. It also includes non-contact acts such as exhibitionism, exposure to pornography, voyeurism and communicating in a sexual manner by phone or Internet.
- An agonizing and traumatic experience for its victims.
- A crime punishable by law.
A Child's Safety is an Adult's Job
Children are often taught how to keep themselves safe from sexual abuse - and that's important for them to learn - but it's no substitute for adult responsibility. We make sure children wear seat belts. We walk them across busy streets. We store toxic household cleaners out of reach. Why, then, would we leave the job of preventing child sexual abuse solely to children? Imagine How Difficult it is for a Child to Say "NO" to a parent, a teacher, a coach, or clergy.
Even the adults we trust to protect children can't always be trusted. Coaches, teachers, clergy, and parents are authority figures children feel they can trust. Yet, a large percentage of those who sexually abuse children are from this group. These are adults who have the opportunity to "groom" children with affection and attention, making it difficult for children to identify certain behaviors as abuse. They also know that children have been taught to "mind" them. This is why programs that focus on adult responsibility are essential.
These Steps Are Only the Beginning
Child sexual abuse is a very complex problem, and these steps touch on only a small portion. For more comprehensive information, take the Stewards of Children training.
- Step 1: Learn the Facts
- Step 2: Minimize Opportunity
- Step 3: Talk About It
- Step 4: Stay Alert
- Step 5: Make a Plan
- Step 6: Act on Suspicions
- Step 7: Get Involved