How to talk to your kids about sexual abuse at every age

How to talk to your children about sexual abuse at every age
WATCH ABOVE: Advocates for victims of child sexual abuse are urging parents to protect their children by making a simple change - teaching them the proper terms for their genitals. Without the right words, advocates say it can be difficult for a child to disclose abuse in a clear way. Laurel Gregory reports. And a note - Global News will use the accurate words for body parts in this story.

As a mother of a 22-month-old, surely I don’t need to talk to my son about private parts, boundaries and sexual abuse, right?


Peter Silverstone, a University of Alberta researcher in child sexual abuse, says “there isn’t such a thing as too early.”

“To the parent who says they’re too little, I wish I could say I didn’t know of a whole, large number of children who are abused at a very, very young age,” Silverstone said.

“You need to be aware. If you think it’s not necessary now because your kid is two or four or six, you’re wrong. Somebody is abusing children at that age. So make your children aware.”

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READ MORE: A child sexual abuse survivor’s advice to parents

For examples of how to talk to your children about sexual abuse and sexuality for each age, see the infographic below, with information provided by the Little Warriors Prevent It! Workbook. The Prevent It! link below has many, many more examples.

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how to talk to your kids about sexual abuse

Graphic by Tonia Huynh, Global News.

Here are some other resources to help you talk to your children about sexual abuse:

Prevent It!  is a free workshop for adults about child sexual abuse developed by researchers at the University of Alberta.

S.P.E.A.K is a training program for adults, caregivers and preschool and early elementary teachers.

Early, Open, Often is U.S. -based. It offers videos and articles about how to talk to your kids about sexual abuse.