1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused by the age of 18. If you don’t think you know a student that this has happened to think again. These children are sitting in our classrooms.
Talk to students about safe and unsafe touches, safe and unsafe secrets. Giving them examples. Make students aware of safe adults they can go to if they are being abused. Give examples (teacher, principal, school counselor, parent, or other non-offending relative)
Warning signs of an abused child:
Sexual and Physical Abuse
- Change in appetite
- Inappropriate clothing such as long sleeve shirts in warm weather.
- Aggressive towards other students
- Acting out or disruptive behavior
- Coming to school too early or not wanting to go home.
- Changes in grades
- Cheating and lying
When a child discloses what should you do?
- Do not act shocked
- Praise the child by telling them they did the right thing by telling
- Do not pry the child for information. Do not ask leading questions.
- Let child know they are safe now
- Make the child as comfortable as possible
- Reassure child this is not their fault
- Explain that the school has to notify the police
Talking to Parents
- Do NOT contact the parents if a child discloses abuse
- A parent may try and have their child recant the abuse they reported.
- Parent may take off with child and go into hiding
- Parent may confront abuser if known before police are involved
The Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-36) included the reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) in its Title I, Sec. 111. CAPTA provides minimum standards for defining child physical abuse and neglect and sexual abuse that States must incorporate into their statutory definitions in order to receive Federal funds. Under this Act, child maltreatment is defined as:
If you suspect a child is being sexually abused, getting the proper help and support is vital. Typically, the situations that require reporting are:
- A child is showing warning signs of being abused
- A child has stated that he or she is being abused.
- A child has stated that another child has been abusing them.
- An adult discloses he or she has abused a child
- An child has become aware of child pornography online
- An adult is aware of another adult or child who is viewing child pornography
- A child states that their friend or family member is being abused
As a mandated reporter if you suspect a child is being abused you MUST contact child protective services IMMEDIATELY and the police.