1) Children can't protect themselves - It's Our Job - Adults must be willing to accept the responsibility of protecting children from abuse. Adults must realize it is their job to reduce the risks for their children.
2) Learn the facts and understand the risks: Realities of child abuse must influence your decisions regarding your children, not blind trust. Learn and understand what is happening right in your own community, so you can better protect your children.
3) Reduce the risk/Create safe environments: Be cautious of new people you bring into the lives of your children. Screen your child care providers or babysitters. Let them know you will make unannounced visits.
4) In tough times, monitor your stress level and the stress level of others; Be aware of your frustrations and emotions, count to 10, take a break, talk with your family or seek help. Address your concerns. This includes any adults around your children.
5) Talk about it: Part of keeping children safe is talking to them about dangers and abuse, and help to provide the words, the openness for communication.
6) Supervision of on-line activity: Closely supervise your children while on the internet. Children can easily access chat rooms where they can meet people that can harm them. This is still occurring regardless of the awareness in recent years. Facebook accounts, emails, can turn to open invitations to get closer to your child.
7) Stay alert, listen to your children. Don't expect obvious signs, act on suspicions. Children often keep abuse a secret and may be providing you small windows of opportunity to ask questions and show them support.
8) Believe your child or any child trusting in you. Your child needs to know you will believe, love and support them. Most children will not fabricate abuse, if anything they will minimize what is happening to them.
9) Get Involved. Volunteer and financially support organizations that fight child abuse. Be aware of new laws and legislation, and communicate with our Governors, Mayors, Senators, and Legislature. Those elected officials need to know how much we support the need for more funding and tougher laws.
10) Report child abuse! It is the law!
We all must take responsibility for the children in our families, our lives, and our communities. Reporting child abuse is not only our responsibility, it is the law.