Resources for Parents and Caregivers
The topic of child sexual abuse is a heartbreaking consideration. As a parent, teacher, uncle, aunt, or any loving adult, this conversation is especially upsetting. It can bring up feelings of fear, distrust, insecurities, and hopelessness.
At the same time, when we do talk about child sexual abuse, become educated on how it happens, and understand ways to reduce the risks, we’re encouraged to act, because prevention is possible!
We encourage you to explore from these resources. And we commend you for the time and care you give to protecting all our kids and youth.
LEARNING ABOUT CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE (CSA) – WEBSITES
“Get the Facts” pages (from Enough Abuse Campaign) offer an overview of core topics. What child sexual abuse is, who are victims, who are abusers, behavior signs of abusers, possible signs of abuse in children, sexual behaviors of children, talking about it with children, and more. Visit website
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) website. The Child Sexual Abuse article provides information on what child sexual abuse is, perpetrator characteristics, how to protect your child, warning signs (physical and behavioral), and where you can get help. (Accessible also from the home page top menu bar: click “Sexual Violence tab, then from dropdown menu, click “Types of Sexual Violence;” find and click “Child Sexual Abuse”). Visit website
Defend Innocence provides “8 Myths About Child Sexual Abuse”. For example, the myth that “Sexual Abuse Only Happens to Girls.” While abuse of boys is not discussed as often,1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they are 18 years old. Visit website
The Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research provides research that suggests educating parents on good parenting practices is an effective way to prevent child abuse for several reasons. Parents have the greatest ability to create safe environments for their children, reducing the likelihood of abuse. When children have secure relationships with their parents, their self-confidence and overall well-being are improved. Visit website
MOSAC (Mothers of Sexually Abused Children) provides rules and guidelines for parents to consider using in their home, especially if child sexual abuse has occurred. General house rules are provided that address appropriate clothing, tickling, wrestling, respect, kindness, and pornography. Bedroom rules cover bedroom sharing, location of bedrooms, knocking, night lights, and closed doors. Additional rules address the use of bathrooms, entertainment and computer use, physical contact, parents’ bedrooms, childcare, and staying alone at home. Visit website
By the Center on Victimization and Safety. Article specifically focused on Sexual Abuse of Children with Disabilities, who, they found, are at greater risk. Visit website
An overview of adolescent sexual development helpful in understanding where a young person is in their development and how to approach conversations around body safety with them. Visit website
LEARNING ABOUT CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE (CSA) – BOOKS
Off Limits: A Parent’s Guide to Keeping Kids Safe from Sexual Abuse
By Sandy K. Wurtele, Ph.D. and Feather Berkowwe, MSW (of Parenting Safe Children).
Sexual abuse of children is a very real danger, from big cities to rural towns. But by following the practical advice in Off Limits, parents and teachers responsible for the safety and welfare of children – from toddlers to teens – can make their children’s worlds much safer. The book, written by two leading experts on sexual abuse prevention, gives an understanding of what child sexual abuse is; who sexually abuses children; how to recognize warning signs that someone may be sexually abusing a child; how and where abusers gain sexual access to children; how abusers keep their victims quiet; how to help a child who has been sexually abused; how to help a child who is abusing other children; and how to keep children safe from abuse.
Body Safety Education: A parents’ guide to protecting kids from sexual abuse
By Jayneen Sanders
A step-by-step guide for parents and caregivers on how to protect children from sexual abuse through personal Body Safety Education. This guide contains simple, practical and age-appropriate ideas, as well as important information on how abusers groom (both the family and child), signs a child may be being sexually abused, and what to do if a child bravely discloses. Body Safety knowledge empowers children. It goes a long way in keeping them safe from sexual abuse, and ensuring they grow up as assertive and confident teenagers and adults. This book is an invaluable guide for parents and caregivers.
HOW TO TALK TO KIDS ABOUT BODY SAFETY – BOOKS
My Little Body Book: Keeping Ourselves Safe
By Shruti Singhal
This picture book introduces youngsters to the importance of taking care of their own bodies. From simple tips on hygiene to an empowering message on how to distinguish safe and unsafe touch.
My Body Belongs to Me
By Jill Starishevsky
Straightforward and gentle, a tool for parents, teachers, and counselors to help children feel, be, and stay safe. The rhyming story, with simple, friendly illustrations, provide a way to sensitively share and discuss, guiding young children to understand that their private parts belong to them alone. The overriding message: if someone touches your private parts, tell your mom, your dad, your teacher, or another safe adult.
Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept
By Jayneen Sanders
Illustrated children’s picture book that sensitively broaches the subject of keeping children safe from inappropriate touch. There are notes to the reader and discussion questions to support both the reader and the child when discussing the story. Suitable for aged 3 to 12 years.
Matilda Learns a Valuable Lesson
By Holly-Ann Martin
Matilda learns that if you feel unsafe, you need to tell an adult you trust. She also learns the importance of persisting with telling adults you trust, until someone helps you feel safe again.
Your Body Belongs to You
By Cornelia Maude Spelman
This book explains what to say and do if someone touches your body when you don’t want to be touched, especially when touching involves private parts.
I Said No! A Kid-to-Kid Guide to Keeping Private Parts Private
By Zach King & Kimberly King
Kid-friendly language and illustrations help parents and concerned adults give kids guidance they can understand, practice and use. Offers a simple, direct, decidedly “non-icky” approach that doesn’t dumb down the issues involved. Provides an easy-to-use system to help kids rehearse and remember appropriate responses to help keep them safe. A variety of topics, including What’s appropriate and with whom. How to deal with inappropriate behavior, bribes and threats. When and where to go for help. What to do if the people you’re turning to don’t listen. Also addresses feelings of guilt and shame.
No Means No! Teaching Personal Boundaries, Consent; Empowering Children by Respecting Their Choices and Right to Say ‘No!’
By Jayneen Sanders
A children’s picture book about an empowered little girl who has a very strong and clear voice in all issues, especially those relating to her body and personal boundaries. This book can be read to children from 3 to 9 years. It is a springboard for discussions regarding children’s choices and their rights. The ‘Note to the Reader’ at the beginning of the book and the ‘Discussion Questions’ on the final pages, guide and enhance this essential discussion.
Do You Have a Secret? (Let’s Talk About It!)
By Jennifer Moore-Mallinos
Discusses the difference between secrets that are fun to keep and those that make people unhappy. Encourages youngsters to confide in their parents, or another trusted adult, about painful matters such as bullying or improper touching.
Amazing You! Getting Smart About Your Private Parts
By Gail Saltz
A picture book designed especially for young children who are becoming aware of their bodies but aren’t ready to learn about sexual intercourse. Written with warmth and honesty, Amazing You! presents clear and age-appropriate information about reproduction, birth, and the difference between girls and boy’s bodies.
A Kids’ Book About Child Sexual Abuse
By Evelyn Yang
Some of the most difficult things to talk about are also the most important. Sexual abuse happens more often than people realize but most kids don’t learn about it until after it happens. This book will help give them the language to understand what sexual abuse is and start the conversation around owning their bodies and trusting their instincts.
These are My Private Parts
By Diane Hansen
In today’s world, it’s sad but true, that parents need to discuss certain difficult topics with their children while they are still very young. But how do you teach a child about something he/she isn’t supposed to know about until being older? Begin by teaching the basics. And one basic for all kids: their body is private. This book can help parents open discussions and empower their children against child abuse. Its message is to let children know that they have a right to (and should) keep their bodies private — from friends, family members, and even neighbors down the street. The book also includes a note to parents and two pages of facts on child sexual abuse. Available in Spanish, “Esas Son Mis Partes Privadas!”
My Body My Choice
By Shirley Paceley
A fully illustrated mini-book written for adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities. Covers the basics of body safety and empowers people with disabilities to resist and report sexual abuse.
Monty’s Day in Court
By Jessica Miles
“Monty’s Day in Court: What to Expect When You Have to Testify in Court.” First children’s book written from the perspective of a child who testifies in court against his abuser. Monty’s story serves as a tool for children in learning resilience and helps those on the front lines helping young people through challenging times. A discussion guide accompanies this book. Available in Spanish.
I Love You So Much That
By Kathy Picard
A sweet story for ages 3-10 which helps explain “Why” their parents ask them to do things…. like go to bed at a certain time, brush their teeth, stay away from strangers, and keep their private parts private. It is a subtle and age-appropriate way to teach young children about body boundaries and keep them safe. “With soft, simple illustrations and meaningful text, this beautiful story focuses on keeping children aware of what caring adults expect, teach, and share. It should be read, shared, and talked about often. This will certainly help young minds to understand what is and isn’t love.”
Consent (for Kids!) Boundaries, Respect and Being in Charge of YOU
By Rachel Brian
Aimed at ages 6-10, this is a smart, playful guide to consent and bodily autonomy, packed with bright and energetic illustrations. Readers will learn about boundaries and how to set them; ways to respect themselves and others; what to do if someone makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe; and much more.
Consent: The New Rules of Sex Education – Every Teen’s Guide to Healthy Sexual Relationships
By Jennifer Lang, MD
A contemporary guide to sex education that answers the most pressing questions teens and young adults have about dating, relationships, consent, and sexual safety. A board-certified OB-GYN, Dr. Lang breaks down confusing concepts into factual and clear guidance. She outlines not only what consent looks and sounds like, but the importance of recognizing when a person has the capacity to give consent, and when they don’t.
Real Talk About Sex and Consent: What Every Teen Needs to Know
By Cheryl M Bradshaw
For ages 13+, offers readers a comprehensive guide with essential information about setting boundaries, coercion, reciprocity, and communication. Also provides hard facts about sex and trauma, the effects of pornography and cultural expectations, and much more.
There’s a large variety of free or inexpensive coloring pages and worksheets for young children available online. Search using “worksheets on body safety for children” or similar phrases. One site offering free downloads: https://themamabeareffect.org/free-downloads/
We encourage you to watch these videos by yourself before watching with your child. After viewing together, take time to talk with your child about what they thought about the video.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNTUMNKSNwk– Safe and unsafe touches. In this video a little girl talks about body safety and asking for help when needed.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y3JHm524E4 – “My Body Belongs to Me: From My Head to My Toes.” This book encourages children to trust their voices, and say no.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvQseuEOkKc – This video narrates a book that talks about a child who has been inappropriately touched and how they feel, and how they talk to an adult. Concrete examples like this are very helpful when speaking with children.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3nhM9UlJjc – Consent for Kids. “Consent is like being ruler of your own country…population: YOU. This is a smart, playful guide to consent and bodily autonomy.”