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What every parent should know to prevent sexual abuse

Child sexual abusers count on your silence and discomfort, so if we’re going to prevent child sexual abuse, we must shatter this silence by learning the facts and empowering our children. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, so I sat down with Feather Berkower, co-author of Off Limits: A Parent’s Guide to Keeping Kids Safe from Sexual Abuse, on what it means to build kids, homes, and communities that are off limits!

1. How do you raise an “off limits” child?
To raise an off-limits child, parents screen all caregivers and empower their children with body-safety rules. I’ve received a bunch of emails recently from parents raising kids who are off-limits. It’s amazing what happens when parents teach their kids body-safety rules and talk with every caregiver (prospective and current) about their child’s body-safety rules.

Here’s an example. A couple was out on a date and their son was with a sitter, someone whom they had “screened.” When they got home, the sitter said she was giving their son a bath and the four year old said, “No one is allowed to touch my private parts, so I will wash my own penis.” That’s an off-limits kid. His parents are teaching him body-safety rules such as, “No one is allowed to touch your private

2. What makes a child vulnerable to sexual abuse? / Which kids do abusers target?