1. Good advice to prevent sexual abuse of children and young people
Prevention is the best weapon in the fight against sexual assault. All adults who interact with children and young people on a daily basis must take part in the preventive work.
Greater knowledge and increased awareness of the taboo area will not only make it easier to detect sexual abuse, but also make it harder for a potential offender to commit abuse.
However, there is, of course, a delicate balance. For it is important that parents and professionals do not see sexual abuse everywhere and create a mood of mistrust, e.g. around close relationships between children and adults. Despite a solid knowledge in the field, it is always difficult to know whether signs of dissatisfaction or deviant behavior are signs of sexual assault. And one must tread cautiously as false accusations can have major negative consequences for the parties involved.
The best way to prevent sexual abuse is to create an environment around child-adolescent relationships where there is presence and openness about the things that are difficult. In such an environment, abuse and other types of dissatisfaction have poor conditions for thriving unnoticed.
- Spend time with the children and show that you are genuinely interested in them, their world, their ideas and their feelings. Even though they may not feel like telling you everything.
- Create an atmosphere where you can talk openly about emotions if you have become upset or someone has behaved in a way that has been unpleasant.
- Teach children and young people to speak out and set boundaries when others do something they do not like. This also applies to the body. Show yourself respect for their boundaries – for example, for touch.
- Talk to children and young people about the difference between “good” and “bad” secrets, where “bad” secrets are those that do not feel good in the stomach.
- Show courage to engage in dialogue with other adults about how to deal with children and young people if you see something you cannot vouch for.
- Show interest and talk to children about the world they are moving in on social media and elsewhere on the internet. Talk to them about both the good and the bad things that can happen when you go online.
- Children who have been subjected to harassment, bullying or sexual abuse, including sharing private photos without consent on a computer, tablet or mobile, can get help in Save the Children’s anonymous
It is important working with children and youngsters constantly to take initiatives to raise awareness about sexual abuse in order to prevent sexual abuse.
- Make sure that children and youngsters know their basic human rights – there are many publications on the internet.
- copy and hand out the UN convention
- Take a copy and pin up
- Raise small talks occasionally about what it means.
- Make small workgroups or study group to work with the issue ending up making a small exhibition or event to raise awareness to all others.
Create situations – where it become natural to talk about sexual abuse without creating anxiety and fear.