PennCAC and Children’s Advocacy Centers announce the launch of an outreach campaign during National Child Abuse Prevention Month this April. The campaign’s big message?
It’s time to treat sexual abuse prevention like any other child safety topic.
When it comes to things like household hazards, car seats, and safety around water, most parents and caregivers know what they need to do or teach their children to do. But when it comes to the topic of child sexual abuse and how to prevent it, the same parents and caregivers are often overwhelmed. We want communities across Pennsylvania to know that child sexual abuse IS preventable. Parents and caregivers are the first line of defense—and one of the most important ways to help keep kids safe is to TALK with them early and often about bodies, boundaries, and behaviors.
CACs are experts in child sexual abuse intervention and response.
In 2022, there were 15,735 children who came to a CAC in Pennsylvania because of suspected abuse. 75% of those cases involved alleged sexual abuse. And more than half of the children served by CACs last year were under the age of 13. CACs know the impact that sexual abuse can have on child victims, including lifelong negative health, behavioral, and economic outcomes. How can parents and caregivers help prevent child sexual abuse?
Here are three important steps to take:
- Get informed. 1 in 10 children will experience sexual abuse before their 18th birthday.
- Get empowered. Talk about bodies, boundaries, and behaviors. Make sure kids know that you are there and you care—and you will listen and believe them if they ever have something important to tell you. Visit the campaign page to download a free fridge poster to help start the conversation today.
- Get prepared. Know the signs of abuse and be ready to respond in a supportive manner if a child discloses to you. If you suspect abuse in Pennsylvania or have a concern about a child’s safety, make a report by calling ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313, which is available 24/7 to take calls.
CACs also know that with the appropriate intervention and support, healing from child sexual abuse is possible. Learn more about the work of Children’s Advocacy Centers and find a CAC near you for more information and resources.
Want to join us this April as we empower parents and caregivers to start the conversation with their kids? Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for great tips from CAC experts—and share our posts with all your friends so you can help empower them, too!