By Eric Hollis
Many parents either are not aware that their child could be a victim at some time of sexual abuse or feel at a loss to know how to protect their children from possible sexual abuse. However, with as many as 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 8 boys falling prey to predators in New Zealand, it is important to know that we are not helpless. Protection requires you to be proactive - you cannot sit back and do nothing and then expect the problem to go away.
Your best defence is to be alert and always be observant. We suggest that you think carefully about any one adult/one child situations that your children might find themselves in. If possible:
- Choose group situations
- Ensure that several adults supervisors are present
- Ask organisations for their child protection policy
- Monitor children’s internet use (if starting to use computers/IPads/or spend time in other people's homes such as in home-based care where there may be internet connected computers)
- Find a way to tell people who care for your child that both you and the child are educated about sexual abuse
Remember, your silence helps perpetrators achieve their goal.
Most sexual abuse of children happens in private when one child and one adult or older child are alone.
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