The National Center for Victims of Crime provides statistical information published by David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center. According to his studies, “One in five girls and one in twenty boys is a victim of child sexual abuse.” This alarming statistic sheds light on a phenomenon that isn’t going away anytime soon. With access to the internet through phones, tablets, and gaming systems, the virtual environment children spend time in poses an even greater threat when entered unsupervised.

Abuse Occurs in Familiar Places

Children simply aren’t safe even in familiar environments such as home and church if they’re left in the care of someone other than their parents. Dr. Tobi Adeyeye Amosun notes that family members and friends are often the most common perpetrators of sex crimes against children. They have access to kids and have earned a certain level of trust with their parents.

Parents Should Speak to Their Children Regularly About Abuse and Consent

To protect children from heinous sexual abuse, parents must speak candidly about safe touching and bad touching. They should use anatomically correct terms for body parts so that a crime can be reported accurately if it does occur. Although it’s important for children to learn the term “stranger danger,” it’s more important for them to learn about consent.

No one has a right to put their hands on your child in any way. Make this very clear to your children no matter what age they may be. Your children should also not put their hands on anyone else’s body, either, without permission from the other individual. Forcing children to kiss and hug other children and adults is not a good example of consent.

It is Your Job as a Parent to Protect Your Children

It is your role as a parent to protect your children from hidden and present dangers. Heed the advice of trusted professionals including your pediatrician and other authorities concerning sexual abuse. It’s avoidable but requires your diligence to keep it from happening to the people you love and provide guardianship over. You can prevent sexual abuse from occurring to your children by being hypervigilant about where your children go and with whom they spend time.