The Ricki Lake Show – Tips to child sexual abuse prevention

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Our very own Svava Brooks, Certified Instructor / Authorized Facilitator of Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children child sexual abuse prevention training was featured on The Ricki Lake Show Blog!  We are so very proud of your hard work and dedication to educating adults on child sexual abuse prevention Svava.

Nov 27 5:50 PM posted by Team Ricki 
San Diego’s Friends of Ricki hosted Certified Child Sexual Abuse Prevention EducatorSvava Brooks to a recent Meetup group where she spoke about her work as an advocate and founder of She shares her expertise and experience with us here on

Certified Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Educator Svava Brooks

“I learned that prevention is more important than learning to detect abuse.” Dalin Cienfueges, father of two

We all know the old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  As parents, we work very hard to keep our kids safe using this guidance.  Most of us feel pretty good about the job we do; our kids look twice before crossing the street, they buckle their seat belts, they don’t run with scissors, and the list goes on.  But there is another lesson we need to teach our kids, but first we need to learn it ourselves. The subject is the very real, but hidden and misunderstood threat of child sexual abuse (CSA).

Having educated adults about child sexual abuse for eight years now, I hear several common refrains from parents, such as, most of us assume or agree with, “we would never leave our children with unsafe adults.”  Parents tell me they have good relationships with their children and are confident that their child would tell them if anyone was doing something to them that made them feel uncomfortable. Other parents tell me that they do not want to scare their children with a conversation about child sexual abuse.  These are the answers from parents that do not know the facts about child sexual abuse and how it takes place, or how simple it is to get educated and to keep their families safe.

Preventing child sexual abuse is an adult’s job. Keeping our kids safe from sexual offenders is a parent’s job. We cannot expect our children to be able to protect themselves from cunning, manipulative adults that go out of their way to seem trustworthy.

The Facts:

• One out of every four girls and one out of every six boys is sexually abused before they turn 18 years old.

• 90% of children that are abused are abused by someone that they know and the family trusts.

• 80% of sexual abuse happens when a child is one-on-one with an adult or older person more powerful child.

I understand the fear of scaring your child, the worry that you are telling them something before they are ready and mature enough to understand it.  Research and experience tells us that educating children about their body, boundaries, secrets and sex (when age-appropriate) empowers children and gives them the confidence and the right words to tell a trusted adult if someone is inappropriate or asks the child to keep a secret from mom, dad or caregiver.

Here is what parents need to do:

• Teach children as soon as they start to learn the names of the body parts that no one can touch them.

• Teach children the difference between secrets and surprises.

• Teach children about boundaries, healthy relationships, and that they can say NO to any offers for hugs and touches.

Keeping our kids safe from child sexual abuse should be just like any other safety concern with our kids.  Whether it’s seat belts, water safety or abuse; it is not just a one-time conversation—it is ongoing. We include other family members in making sure that our children don’t ride in cars without seatbelts or play in or near a pool without adult supervision.

It helps parents to learn about this topic with other parents. When they hear that they are not alone with their concerns and that educating their children is actually simple and straight forward, they feel empowered and hopeful about taking charge of the safety of their children in this regard.

Parents can purchase helpful books and attend classes to help them get comfortable with talking to kids about their private parts and safe adults. Once parents accomplish this, extend the safety conversation and questions to adults that provide services to/for their children. You may want to ask administrators about the possible risk of your child being left alone with an adult in their care.  Ask to see the school policy on CSA, monitoring, training and prevention.  In my educate4change webinar for parents, I share lists of suggested questions you should be asking the adults that take care of and teach your children.

It should be noted that, if you feel uncomfortable with the topic and perhaps some of the suggestions you are reading about here, you are not alone.

Resources for parents:


Recommended Reading

Svava Brooks

Svava Brooks

Svava Brooks the founder of educte4change, is a certified Darkness to Light child sexual abuse prevention educator and public speaker. A survivor herself, Svava offers webinars and online presentations on child sexual abuse prevention. To learn more about online education for parents from Svava Brooks, please visit.


4 responses to “The Ricki Lake Show – Tips to child sexual abuse prevention

  1. Awesome! Svava taught the Facilitator training that I attended and I was beyond impressed with her skill and knowledge.
    GO SVAVA!!!

    DonnaLisa Knowles

  2. Congrats Svava! As a facilitator she is both knowledgeable and supportive. Svava is a wonderful teacher. Thank you Ricki lake for offering such important information and highlighting Svava’s work

  3. Just yesterday, I noticed an older man who is like a grandfather to our children rubbing my daughter’s lower legs (she’s almost 3). I helped her sit up, ending the leg-rubbing, but it really bothered me. How do I tell someone that doing something like that bothers me without causing a big scene or them feeling hurt? I realize that it’s usually people whom you know and trust that can be abusers, so how do I prevent anything from happening that we’d regret but not make someone feel like you think they’re going to abuse your child when they’re not?

  4. Hi Sabrina – I know this reply is many years late but I wanted to acknowledge you and thank you for asking this important question. The Stewards of Children training teaches Bystander Intervention as a part of Step 5. If you have not already I encourage you to attend the training in person or online.

    Again, apologies for not seeing this sooner.

    Svava Brooks

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