Keeping Children Safe from Sexual Assault — In Your Community

Dear Parents & Youth Professionals,

Welcome to Parenting Safe Children! I’m glad you’re here, and invite you to join me in keeping your children, and all children, safe from sexual abuse—a mission to which I have been dedicated for more than three decades.

In support of my mission, I deliver evidence-based prevention workshops, offer private consultations, draft policies for youth organizations, and produce materials on how to make homes and communities “off limits” to child sexual abuse.

Here’s what distinguishes my work from other prevention efforts:

  • I focus on adults, rather than children. Yes, children can learn protection skills, and it’s important that they do, but ultimately it’s up to adults (parents, caregivers and youth professionals) to keep children safe from sexual abuse and incest, not for children to have to protect themselves.
  • I emphasize building a Prevention Team™. The Parenting Safe Children workshop gives you all the tools you need to talk with your children about their body-safety rules—and, how to talk with caregivers about your children’s safety and build a Prevention Team™ around your child. This is powerful!

I know that talking about child sexual abuse is difficult, but it is one of the most important conversations you could ever have, and one that is much easier to have before abuse takes place.

I will help make the conversations easier for you, as I have for thousands of other parents and professionals. Please register for one of my workshops where you will receive accurate information about child sexual abuse and incest so you can prevent, recognize, and act responsibly if you witness it.

Warmly,

Feather Berkower, LCSW

Facts About Child Sexual Abuse

What is child sexual abuse?

  • Sexual touching between an adult and a child.
  • Sexual touching between children when the sexual behavior is too advanced for their age, there’s a 2-3 year age difference, or there’s coercion.
  • Touching and non-touching behaviors – i.e., touching genitals; looking at or exposing genitals; viewing, creating, possessing or distributing child sexual abuse imagery.
  • About 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused by the age of 18 (contact abuse).
  • Child sexual abuse is typically preceded by a lengthy process – grooming – in which an older youth or adult gains the trust of the family, community and child to lure the child into sexual activity.
  • Child sexual abuse interrupts development and can have traumatic short-term effects as well as devastating long-term effects, including poor self-esteem, depression, and even suicide. 

What is incest?

Incest or intrafamily sexual abuse that affects children includes adult-on-child and child-on-child abuse (e.g., father/child, mother/child, adult relative/child, sibling/sibling, or cousin/cousin). Such abuse includes touching and non-touching sexual behaviors. Non touching behaviors include exposure of genitals; showing pornography; showing or taking sexually explicit photos; sharing sexual fantasies, and more).

Who commits child sexual abuse?

  • 90% child sexual abuse is committed by people in a position of trust: an adult family member, sibling, child’s peer, teacher, neighbor, coach, babysitter, clergy, or someone else you and / or your child already knows.
  • Random or stranger sexual abuse accounts for about 10% of child sexual abuse.
  • 30% to 50% of all child sexual abuse is committed by youth.

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