Darkness to Light is a non-profit organization whose mission is to reduce the incidence of child sexual abuse by shifting the responsibility of prevention from children to adults. The mission is accomplished through an award-winning media campaign that raises public awareness and directs adults to educational tools. The tools teach adults how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse and include the 5 Steps to Preventing Child Sexual Abuse and the consciousness training based Stewards of Children curriculum. For more information on how you can help prevent child sexual abuse, please visit www.darkness2light.org.
Protecting Our Children:
- Remember, the person who abuses a child is to blame for the abuse!
- Always know the people who care for your children. Write down babysitter’s names, phone numbers and addresses.
- Always know and use the “W” questions with your child: Who, What, Where and When. This applies to physical activities such as going to the park and online activities such as visiting chat rooms.
- Be involved in your child’s activities.
- Be sensitive to changes in your child’s behavior or attitude. Look and listen for small cues and clues that something might be wrong.
- Listen to your intuition or your “gut feeling”.
- Teach your child to listen to his or her intuition or “gut feeling” and communicate it to you.
- When your child tells you they do not like someone, ask them to tell you why.
- Teach your child that it’s okay to tell, no matter who, no matter what!
- Maintain supportive, open communication with your child; talk and listen.
- Talk about safety and sex with your child.
- Remember that children should not be held responsible for protecting themselves from sexual abuse by adults.
- Carefully supervise and establish clear rules and guidelines for your child’s computer use.
- Educate yourself (read, listen and ask).
- National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at www.missingkids.com
- National Children’s Advocacy Center at www.nationalcac.org
Do’s and Don’t Upon Hearing a Disclosure of Child Abuse:
- Practice your response before you are in a real situation.
- Pay attention to your body language. Give the child signals that you are hearing what he/she says and that you can help.
- Know the reporting law (Title 10, §7103).
- Reassure the child they did the right thing by telling you and that you will do everything you can to help the child.
- Let the child know that it was brave to share something (no matter how minimal) about a difficult subject.
- Affirm your caring for the child and that your relationship has not been negatively altered. Some children feel ashamed and assume they are less lovable because of the abuse.
- Document the actual words.
- Call the police (911) or the Child Abuse reporting hotline (1-800-522-3511).
- Try to determine for yourself if abuse or neglect occurred. This is the role of child welfare and the police.
- Act shocked, horrified, scared, etc.
- Share this information with friends or relatives.
- Try to talk a child out of what he/she is saying.
- Suggest to a child that he/she may have been abused.
- Attempt to find out the details of the abuse.
- Stand over or smother the child while he/she talks to you.
- Oklahoma Department of Human Services
- Sexual and violent offender look up
- Oklahoma State Health Department
- Washington County Registered Sex Offenders
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- Project Safe Child