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To make all children in the community safer

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HealthWiki > Helping Children Who Are Deaf > Chapter 13: Preventing child sexual abuse > To make all children in the community safer

Most people are not comfortable talking about sexual abuse, accepting that children are not safe, or discussing the harmful effects of sexual abuse. Yet sexual abuse can only be prevented if everyone can talk about it.

Men, women, and children doing street theater with a sign reading: "My Body Belongs to Me!"

Programs in schools and community meetings can educate the entire community about sexual abuse. Acting out short plays or skits about the effects of sexual abuse sometimes makes it easier for people to discuss abuse as a group.

Here are some community-wide ways to work on preventing sexual abuse:

  • Workshops for parents and teachers to help them learn ways to communicate with young children about how to prevent sexual abuse. Read written materials aloud with parents if discussion is not possible.
  • Training for teachers, staff working in schools, doctors and health workers so they can notice signs a child may have been abused, and learn how to talk with a child who may be a victim of abuse. Hold workshops with school staff to discuss the ethics of working with children.
  • Education for school children to prevent sexual abuse. This education can also include age-appropriate education on healthy sexuality.
  • Reporting abuse when it happens can help prevent it in the future. Find out what procedures exist for reporting child sexual abuse and make sure this information is available to parents, teachers, health workers, and others who may learn about the sexual abuse of a child. Work to create a procedure if none exists.
A large group of men and women sitting together.
The more people know about the problem of sexual abuse, the more we can prevent it from happening to our children.