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Crisis Hotlines
Crisis Hotlines

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What is Sexual Abuse?

Child sexual abuse is any sexual act between an adult and a minor or between two minors when one exerts power over the other. When an adult, older child or much larger child forces or persuades a child to engage in any type of sexual contact, it is sexual abuse. For someone to consent to having sexual relations they have to be the legal age (17 in Illinois)and understand the nature of the sexual act.

Did You Know That...

1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthday. 1 in 5 children are sexually solicited while on the internet. There are an estimated 39 million sexual abuse survivors in America. 90% of children who are sexually abused know their abusers.40% of children are sexually abused by older or larger children.

30 – 40% of children who are sexually abused are abused by family members. As many as 60% of child sexual abuse victims are abused by people the family knows. What can you do to reduce the risk of your child being sexually abused? More than 80% of child sexual abuse incidents occur in one adult / one child situations.

Reduce the Risk

Reducing and or eliminating one adult/one child situations. Choose group situations whenever possible. Monitor children’s internet use, having your child’s computer in a common area in the house helps in reducing risk. Teach children not to give out personal email addresses, home addresses or phone numbers while using the internet.Monitor and or reduce situations where older youth have access to younger children.Do not allow males to baby-sit, the majority of child sexual abuse is committed by males.Make sure that youth serving organizations and or sport teams have policies in place that screen for background checks of their staff and volunteers. Communicate with your child about appropriate healthy touch, what are private parts (any area covered by a bathing suit) boundaries and safety often and ensure with them that its adults responsibility to keep kids safe. Teach children that you can best protect them if they tell you that something is wrong. Teach children that they have your permission to tell any adult “No” to unwanted or uncomfortable touch.Model caring for your own body & teach children how to care for theirs. Be sure to mention that a potential abuser might be an adult friend, family member or older youth.

How to Deal With a Situation

Of the utmost importance, believe the child and make sure the child knows it. The percentage of false child sexual abuse allegations is extremely rare. Thank the child for telling you and praise the child’s courage. Don’t over react, try to remain calm as children learn how to model their emotions from their parents. Encourage the child to talk and be supportive. Do not pass judgment and or try to investigate what happened, asked only opened ended questions like “what happened next" or "tell me more”. Let the child know that it’s your job to protect her or him and that you will do everything possible to do so. Call the local Police, the Department of Children and Family Services 1-(800)-25A-BUSE and the local Children’s Advocacy Center at (847)-377-3155 to find out the available resources in the community. Prevention service offered at CYN The Life Program is an intensive free outreach based, 6-12 month program. The identified client is the parent or caregiver of the family. The LIFE Program was designed to assist and support high-risk families to lessen risk factors, which can lead to child abuse and neglect, PRIOR to an incident of abuse occurring.

Contact: Alana Bak LIFE program coordinator for more information about Living In Families Effectively

To schedule your FREE community presentation, contact Community Youth Network, Inc 847-548-6000 x10