We have never been more aware of the prevalence of child sexual abuse, but unfortunately this has yet to translate into a reduction of new cases. How can parents keep their children safe without being overwhelmed by paranoia?

According to child safety experts, it comes down to awareness of ‘grooming’. Predators will take various, but generally formulaic, steps to get close to a child they’re targeting. If the grooming is in person, this will often involve getting close to the child’s parents and other relatives as well. It’s this process that makes it so difficult for victims to speak about their abuse, because they feel connected to their abuser and also complicit in any wrongdoing as a result of being groomed.

This article outlines the key steps involved in grooming, whether in person or online, and the steps you can take to either prevent or respond to suspected or actual grooming. It highlights that a substantial proportion of child abuse is perpetrated by a family member, so to be truly effective parents need to be as objective as possible when considering whether behaviour counts as grooming.

Parents are also generally aware that the online world is a potential avenue for abuse, but are not always aware of how to help their kids be safe. It’s important for parents to be informed themselves about what kinds of behaviour are and aren’t safe online before having an open and honest conversation, with the focus being on empowering them to navigate this space effectively rather than being needlessly restrictive.

This ties into the final takeaway from the article, which is that clear and unambiguous communication with children about anatomy and body autonomy is crucial to ensure they aren’t susceptible to grooming. And of course, making it clear that you’re someone a child can talk to regardless of the situation makes it much more likely that they’ll come to you when they start feeling uncomfortable instead of later on.

– Lizzy Francis

Read the full article: How to Look Out for Signs of Grooming for Abuse

Image source: Pixabay

Watch Generation Next’s FREE upcoming webcast in which former detective Brett Lee will share important insights into the online grooming of children. The webcast will take place on 5 September during National Child Protection week. Find out more here >>