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Help for identification and prevention of child sexual abuse.  Learn common risk areas for sexual abuse and how to reduce those risks. Find Molestation Signs and Recovery pages here.

Stop:  If you suspect your child may have recently been sexually abused, verify your suspicions using our Signs of Child Molestation page, then call 1.800.656.HOPE  This is the number for the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.  They can help you verify and learn what to do next.

Child Sexual Abuse Prevention: I recently had a father confide in me how concerned he is about his daughter, to keep her from being molested.  They've heard of children in their family being sexually abused and want to take every precaution they can.  Not being a parent, I was surprised at the intensity of this concerned father's feelings.  It was as if he felt molestation was imminent.  If you share his feelings, this page may help you get a handle on protecting your kid, male or female, from potential sexual predators.  While nothing is fool proof, a few common sense practices can reduce the risks that your child will be sexually abused.  To learn more, here is a list of the most recent popular books on child sexual abuse prevention.

How To Protect Children From Incest: The most common episodes of molestation are incest, resulting from a trusted family member being left alone with the child.  Here are some ways to reduce the threat of incest:
1.  Avoid Incest by using the buddy system-always have another trusted friend or relative so there are always 2 adults with the child.  If there is any molestation history with the mother or father, both of you discuss it and agree to be each other's buddy.
2.  Don't assume incest is always male on female.  Females molest, too.  Boys can be molested by boys or girls.
3.  Make sure each child has their own room, or, at least, no rooms with boys and girls together.

Internet Monitoring and Filtering: One of the fastest growing ways pedophiles reach children is through the Internet.  Kids have email accounts for their computers and other wireless devices.  The web is full of wonderful rich educational material...some of it far too educational for kids...even adults.  Many parents who are very worried about what someone might do sexually to their child have little or no concern for what the computer might be doing.  For a child, images can be as sexually damaging as touch.  Fortunately, there is a vast array of software and services for computer filtering of content, mail and websites and computer monitoring so you can see what they see.  Here are the recent most popular choices for computer parental control software.  While researching this subject, I was shocked at how often the same keywords were used to sell equipment and software to get around the blockers.  There are people trying to get to your kid through that box on the desk.  Make sure you have the latest protection and use it.  Don't forget to use the parental controls on the TV too.

Sex Offenders Lists: There has been much said about Megan's Law lists of sexual offenders published by the state or county you're in.  The purpose of the list and pictures is so you can be aware of who is in your neighborhood and report any inappropriate behavior.  Anything that can heighten awareness that children are at risk is a good thing.  Still, you're more protected by the buddy system above than by lists of pedophiles for a number of reasons:
1.  Over 60% don't repeat after being caught.
2.  The system loses track of these people, resulting in innocent people living at the suspect address and real suspects living at unregistered addresses.  In fact, the intentional repeat offenders will drop off the radar as soon as they can.
3.  About 90% of child molesters haven't gotten caught...not registered.

The above situations combine to leave parents watching the wrong people.  If you're concerned about your child being molested, watch everyone!  If you rely solely on a list, your children are at greater risk than they need be. 

Choosing Friends To Prevent Child Sexual Abuse: Let's say you do it all...use the buddy system, parental controls, watch everyone, and you feel pretty good about how well protected your child is.  Let me ask you some questions:  Do your children's friends' parents do the same thing?  Have you discussed it with them?  Do you let your children play with other children without adult supervision?  What about when they're at Billy's house?  Does Billy have a big brother that may be sexually curious?  Who watches the kids while they are there?

Unless your child is surrounded by children who's parents do the same things, there is going to be risk.  Do everything you can, but eventually, you will have to let your kid out of the basement.  Make sure you've assessed the risk at Billy's house and know Billy's parents and Billy's friends.  Of course, as your kids get get older you have to give them more and more autonomy or you'll harm them more than the abuser would.  This is where you have to trust your child to make the decisions as you taught them and to tell you when something doesn't seem right.

Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Conclusion: When we started this, I thought I would come up with a list of tips that will help you relax a little but I'm afraid I've failed.  It seems there is nothing that will eliminate the risks, though your constant vigilance and curiosity can significantly reduce that risk.  There is only one Guarantor that, whatever happens, everything will be just fine.  Only God can fully protect your child.  Only God can reliably heal both the abused and abuser if something does happen.  If you want God's help, click help me God.

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