Resources for Families
In this section, we provide expert tips and advice on how to help children stay safer, how to help survivors of sexual assault/abuse, and information about sexual development in children.
We have also compiled a list of educational materials and helpful resources, including a list of websites with information about childhood abuse, violence, domestic violence and foster care.
Tips for helping kids be SAFER
Speak to children about personal safety in simple language and repeat the same rules often. Discuss body safety issues in the context of general safety skill-building.
Allow appropriate assertiveness; appreciate the value of your child saying “no”:
- Children who are able to appropriately assert themselves are at lower risk of becoming victimized.
- The best place for them to practice saying no is with someone they trust.
All feelings are okay. Feelings are different than behaviors.
- Give children words to express feelings (happy, sad, angry, excited, worried, scared, frustrated, safe, etc.)
- Reflect children’s feelings “You feel mad when you can’t play outside.”
- Adhere to rules and expectations. Just because you are allowing children to express their feelings doesn’t mean they can do whatever they want.
- Teach children that the parts of their bodies covered by underwear or bathing suits are private.
- Talk to them about “ok,” “not okay” and “confusing” touches, and how to deal with each.
- Teach children the correct name for their body parts (penis, vagina). Encourage children to tell someone they trust if anyone tries to touch their private parts.
- Teach children never to keep secrets that make them feel uncomfortable or bad.
- Take advantage of opportunities to strengthen your communication (and relationship) with your child — practice active listening, reflect feelings, discipline behaviors (not feelings), answer questions with language the child will understand, and only answer what was asked.
- Encourage children to let you know what they like and what they don’t like. Doing so will:
- Let them know that you can tolerate differences.
- Increase the likelihood that your child will talk to you when things feel hard or if they have problems.
- Provide supervision.