Everyone can prevent child sexual abuse by creating safe environments for children and young people – and by listening and talking to them.
Keeping children safe from sexual abuse is more than a one-off conversation at school or at home. It is a process of creating safe environments, listening to a child’s concerns and believing them if they disclose something.
This process works when adults and peers are accessible, and available when needed. Developing open and trusting relationships with children in your care ensures that all kinds of matters relating to personal and intimate behaviour, sex, and sexuality can be discussed freely.
Children and young people want organisations to provide safe physical environments - places that are bright and cheerful, where they are able to move around, to play and to "hang out" with friends and people they trust.
Children and young people value being helped to better understand risks and to make better judgements on when to trust and when to be wary. Raising concerns with an adult can be difficult, potentially embarrassing, shameful or uncomfortable. Adults need to respond respectfully and in ways that allay children's fears and discomfort. A trusting relationship will help if they need to talk about safety concerns. It can be highly valuable for a child to have several adults and friends who they trust to share difficult information with.