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More than 80% of sexual assaults occur during one-on-one time with another adult.  Think carefully about the one-on-one time your child spends with other adults.  It could be Sunday school, daycare, school, sports, or music lessons.  Consider group activities/situations versus individual contact.  

For example, according to the National Council of Youth Sports, “any program where adults supervise children represents an obvious opportunity for sexual predators, and youth sports programs are known targets for perpetrators of these crimes.”

What can you do as a parent to help keep your child safe? Always ask the following questions, take the following precautions, and trust your instincts: 

-    Does the organization conduct background checks on all employees working there?
-    Does the organization have policies about recognizing signs and reporting sexual abuse?
-    Are all staff members trained to recognize and report abuse and on organizational policies? 
-    Do they have policies about employees having exclusive, one-on-one time with a child?  
-    In-depth screening policies for both staff and volunteers, including background checks and reference checks.
-    Education to staff and volunteers about child sexual abuse and perpetrator patterns.
-    Training and policies for staff and volunteers about how to report suspected abuse.
-    Does the organization have policies that cover boundaries between staff and children, including:

•    One-on-one time
•    Physical contact
•    Transportation
•    Practices/meetings
•    Sleepovers
•    Phone calls/texts /email /social media
•    Education for parents about the organization’s sexual abuse prevention and reporting policies
•    If a policy does exist, be sure to get a copy. Ask how compliance with the rules is monitored and ensured.

If an organization does not have such policies, inquire as to why one is not available – and consider whether or not this is a safe place to leave your child.

In addition:
-    Note if one-on-one activities are open and observable.  
-    Inform staff that you are vigilant about your child’s safety and that sexual abuse is a concern of yours.
-    Inform staff that you will be making unannounced visits off and on when your child is in attendance to see how the rules are being followed      in the caring for children.
-    Stay and observe practice or lessons.
-    Talk to your child.  Check in every day to see how his or her day went.  The more open the communication, the more likely you will get a          clear picture of how things are going.
-    Pay attention.  If your child is uncomfortable being around a certain adult, ask why.
-    Trust your instincts.  If you feel that the issue of sexual abuse is not taken seriously, trust your instincts and act on them. 

This is far from a comprehensive list of prevention tips.  For more information about how to protect your child from sexual abuse, please use the form to schedule or inquire about a Prevention Training for your group, below.  

Protecting Students from Sexual Assault on College Campuses
The first report released by The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault detailed a chilling statistic: one in five college students experiences sexual assault during their college career. That, combined with the ACLU's estimation that 95% of U.S. campus rapes go unreported, highlights a serious problem on college campuses. Our resource aims to increase awareness about sexual assault and abusive partner relationships by addressing the following topics:
-    What is Sexual Assault?
-    Recognizing Abuse
-    Sexual Assault Prevention
-    What to Do After an Assault

Read the full article 

Ralston House Board Member, Dr. Antonia Chiesa, Child Abuse Pediatrician

Prevention Training
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