Take the time to talk to your child.
- Be calm and confident before discussing this topic with your child.
- Do not scare your child; your tone should be neutral, educational and empowering.
- Let your child know that you are always there for him/her and always want to protect him/her.
- Teach your child that the parts of their body that a bathing suit covers are private parts and that no one is allowed to see or touch them there.
- Allow time for your child to process and to ask you questions.
- Have your child identify 5 safe people they can talk to if someone ever makes them uncomfortable.
- Make talking to your child about personal safety an ongoing dialogue rather than a single conversation.
- It’s important not to interrogate children. Ask simple, open-ended questions in a calm manner: "Has anyone ever made you feel uncomfortable or scared? Has anyone ever asked you to keep a secret?"
Familiarize yourself with the policies and practices of organizations where your children spend time.
- Confirm background checks are conducted on all employees and volunteers.
- Ensure policies are in place that prohibit situations where an adult can be alone with your child in one room when no one else is around.
- Talk to your child to find out if the policies are being followed when you are not there.
- Require all staff and volunteers to be trained annually on child safety and on how to make a report.
Be vigilant and ASK questions!
- Watch for changes in your child’s behavior. If your child is reluctant to go certain places or to be with certain people, ask questions.
- Notice their behavior before and after spending time alone with an adult.
If a child does reveal something concerning, believe the child. Reassure him/her that he/she has done the right thing in telling you and that what happened is absolutely not their fault. Call CPS (800) 252-5400 or local law enforcement to report your concerns.
Please do not interview children or contact the alleged offender—report your suspicions and let the appropriate authorities investigate.