Child Sexual Abuse "Fire Drill"

When it comes to emergency preparedness, the value of discussing a safety plan with children is invaluable. Children are often taught where to go in case of a fire at school, to go into the basement if they hear a tornado siren and to seek cover during an earthquake. Children know these things because parents teach and practice these concepts until they become second nature.

What if children were not faced with a natural disaster, but a situation where they could be sexually abused? Would they know how to successfully navigate a harmful situation? Would they know what to do, who to tell and how to communicate their experience?

Children are more likely to face the reality of sexual abuse than they are to navigate a fire or be involved in a natural disaster, but they are far less prepared. While many parents talk to their children about the basics of "stranger danger," many children do not know what to do if someone they trust takes advantage of them. Children are more likely to be abused by someone they know than by a stranger.

Offering children the right words, knowing their boundaries and having a safety plan empowers children with necessary knowledge. Just as students are taught to walk calmly to their designated area during a school fire drill, children can be taught to be prepared before they are confronted with a negative situation.

Learn more about how to talk to your children about body safety and sexual abuse in the book, Body Safety Education: A Parents Guide to Protecting Kids from Sexual Abuse.