As parents and caregivers look ahead to the school year winding down and summer approaching, it is a great time to think about what activities, camps, sports or clubs your child will be a part of this summer. What are ways you can work with the adults who lead these groups to keep children safe from child sexual abuse?
When choosing a camp, sport or activity for your child:
- Ensure background checks are completed on all staff or volunteers
- Ask about sexual abuse prevention training offered to staff and volunteers (Darkness to Light is offered free in Kent County)
- Talk with the director about policies regarding body safety:
- two staff members should be with children at all times
- staff should be trained on appropriate touch (high-fives, pats on the back) and inappropriate touch (sitting on laps, tickling)
- there should be clear procedures outlined for handling inappropriate touch and sexual misconduct within the organization
- For camp counselors: ask for policies regarding social media accounts (staff should be required to have “private” accounts and should not friend campers)
When choosing a babysitter/nanny:
- Obtain a background check (for applicants 18 and over) and check the National Sex Offender Registry
- During the interview, ask questions regarding body safety awareness and pay close attention to their physical and verbal responses. Questions such as:
- “Have you received body safety education training?”
- What would you do/say if you noticed the children pulling down each other’s pants?”
- Develop a written plan of expectations regarding safety and go over it verbally with the babysitter/nanny. This can include points such as:
- In our home, we teach body safety. Our children are educated on what to do if someone touches the private parts of their body.
- In our home we do not keep secrets from mom or dad.
- In our home children are taught to listen to those in authority, unless this person asks them to break one of our body safety rules.
Keeping children safe from child sexual abuse happens when we build homes, organizations and a community where adults are not afraid to speak up and talk about the importance of body safety with children and those who care for them.