Partnering with Parents to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse
Research supports the effectiveness of parental involvement in personal safety education. Several studies have shown that parents, when provided with developmentally appropriate materials for their children and instruction and support from schools, can be very effective instructors of personal safety (Burgess and Wurtele, 1998; Wurtele, 1993; Wurtele, Currier, Gillispie, and Franklin, 1991, 1992; Wurtele, Kast, and Melzer, 1992).
Furthermore, research found that children who had received CSA prevention instruction from their parents (in addition to information they received at school) had substantially more knowledge about the topic, made more use of self-protection strategies, were better able to limit the seriousness of assaults, and were more likely to disclose abuse when it occurred (Finkelhor, Asdigian, and Dziuba-Leatherman, 1995).
Parental Support of CSA Prevention Education
A parent's first step in supporting a school-based CSA prevention program is simply to allow his or her child's participation. Unfortunately, parents who have concerns about these programs or believe that they are harmful may not allow their children to take part. However, the research shows that children can learn personal safety skills without becoming anxious, acting out, or becoming confused about appropriate touch.
Some parents believe that their children are at low risk for sexual exploitation (Collins, 1996) or that children are too young to understand the topic (Wurtele, Kvaternick, and Franklin, 1992). Yet young children are especially vulnerable to this type of abuse. Their smaller size and dependent status, along with their difficulty in recognizing, resisting, and reporting abuse, put them at greater risk for sexual victimization.
There are other parents who define child molesters as "social misfits," (Conte and Fogarty, 1989) "dirty old men," (Morrison and Greene, 1992) or strangers (Berrick, 1988). Parents who hold these beliefs may think CSA prevention education isn't necessary if their child never has contact with these types of people. But research tells us that children are most often victimized by family members, substitute caregivers, or trusted adults who function "normally" in society.
Reprinted with the permission of the Committee for Children. © 2007 Committee for Children.
Add your own comment
Today on Education.com
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- The Five Warning Signs of Asperger's Syndrome
- What Makes a School Effective?
- Child Development Theories
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Bullying in Schools
- Test Problems: Seven Reasons Why Standardized Tests Are Not Working
- Should Your Child Be Held Back a Grade? Know Your Rights
- First Grade Sight Words List