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Preventing Child Sexual Abuse is an Adult Responsibility

Darkness to Light believes that adults should be taking proactive steps to protect children from this significant risk. It is unrealistic to think that a young child can take responsibility for fending off sexual advances by an adult. Adults are responsible for the safety of children. Adults are the ones who need to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Yet, the statistics clearly show that adults aren’t shouldering this responsibility. Darkness to Light believes that adults just don’t know how.

Read the 5 Steps to
Protecting Our Children

A Guide for Responsible Adults

Think About It

It's unrealistic to expect a six-year-old to fend off sexual advances from an adult relative. Children often cannot recognize sexual advances for what they are, and have been taught to “mind” adults who are authority figures. 

Adults are Responsible for the Safety of Children

  • As adults, we strap babies into car seats, we walk children across busy streets, and we ask teenagers questions about where they are going and who they will be with, all to keep them safe. As adults, we should also be responsible for protecting children from sexual abuse.
  • Why, then, are we at such a loss when it comes to protecting children from sexual abuse? Child abuse statistics show that adults do not adequately protect children from child sexual abuse, and the main reason is that they don't know how.
  • Research suggests that adults are unaware of effective steps they can take to protect their children from sexual abuse. Most do not know how to recognize signs of sexual abuse and many do not know what to do when sexual abuse is discovered.
  • There are several well-known and successful programs that teach children age-appropriate self-protection skills and techniques. These programs also teach children about physical boundaries, and about discerning types of touch. These programs are valuable to children, and the skills they teach have thwarted abductions and sexual assaults. However, this is simply one part of a larger prevention and protection plan. We must not fall into the trap of thinking that these skills alone are "good enough."