Plan for Safety
One important strategy for protecting your children is to proactively plan for their safety. Research on factors that may increase or decrease the likelihood of child sexual abuse—for both potential victims and those who will potentially engage in sexually harmful behavior—is limited. However, what is known offers some important clues.
When considering potential risk and protective factors, it's essential to consider the entire picture that makes up a child and the world she or he lives in. Everything we do to raise our children as healthy individuals with a strong sense of belonging and connection matters.
Step One: Identify Protective Factors
Start by identifying factors from that can act as safeguards against being victimized by, or engaging in, sexually harmful behaviors.
Click here for examples of protective factors.
Step Two: Identify Risk Factors
Next, identify factors that may increase your child’s risk of being victimized by, or engaging in, sexually harmful behaviors.
Click here for examples of risk factors.
Step Three: Develop a Plan
Click here to download and print safety planning worksheets. List the protective factors you’d like to increase and the risk factors you’d like to decrease. Be specific (see the examples below).
Protective child factor:
My daughter is a talented dancer, and she feels very confident about her abilities. To strengthen this factor, I will:
These strategies will help connect your daughter to a community as well as to you.
Protective family factor:
Our family is committed to the safe use of technology. The only computer that has Internet access is in the living room where we monitor its use closely (e.g., emails, chat logs, social networking sites). To strengthen this factor, I will:
Helpful Websites: • www.technicoolvt.org • www.netsmartz.org
These strategies will help make sure you are aware of any unsafe situation and let your children know that you are concerned and care.