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How to Help Children Protect Themselves From Abuse

According to the Child Help website, child abuse has reached epidemic proportions. About five children die every day as a result of child abuse, and about 75 percent of these children are under the age of 4. Child abuse has other, far-reaching effects. More than half the people in drug rehabilitation treatment say they were abused as children, and nearly a third become child abusers themselves. Helping children protect themselves from child abuse is easier when you begin teaching protection techniques at an early age 2.

Keep lines of communication open with your child. Set aside a time daily to talk about your child's feelings 1. This helps build trust between you and your child, and helps her feel comfortable telling you when she suspects an adult is dangerous.

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Role play with your children to help them learn how to respond to strangers who approach them. Some child abusers try to trick children by asking for help or pretending there is an emergency. Role playing helps children to remember how to respond when approached by adults. They should remember to check with a trusted adult before accompanying a stranger.

Teach your children to check with a trusted adult before accepting a stranger's proposed identity as a policeman or other authority figure. Explain to your children that people are not always who they say they are. A trusted adult should always check a stranger's identification, even if the adult appears to be an authentic authority figure.

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Provide emotional support when a child tells you he is afraid of another adult. Let the child know that it is OK to feel afraid, and that he did not do anything to invite or provoke the abuse. Emotional support is necessary for helping the child protect himself against abusive acts, because he has received validation from a trusted adult.

Practice recall of vital information with your child, such as the child's name, telephone number and address. Also, make sure your child knows how to make a collect call, which might be necessary to reach a trusted adult.