5 ways to protect your kids from sexual abuse

Experts say cases of child pornography and abuse are some of the hardest to prevent because they are so covered up and private.

“It’s really tragic and so damaging to children,” said Julie Rosen with Parenting Arizona after hearing the details of the case involving a Scottsdale teacher's aide.

Rosen sees the affects first hand when a child has been sexually abused.

She tells parents to arm their children early with what they need to know to stop an abuser.

Rosen said it’s important to establish a close relationship with your child from the start, so that they’re comfortable with talking to you.

As early as the toddler years, parents need to be talking with kids about personal space, privacy, good touches and bad touches.

“Tell them even mom and dad should not be touching you there unless there's a medical reason,” recommends Rosen.

And just like you would have them scream if they’re being abducted, they should also scream when they’re being sexually abused.

“If a child is in a public place, tell them to scream 'no you’re not going to touch me!'" That really brings attention to someone who is trying to be inappropriate with them,” said Rosen.

Also watch for red flags that might tell you something is amiss with your child. Warning signs like soreness in their private areas.

“They might have some soiling in their underwear if they were actually sexually abused. They could have a sense of discomfort, sadness or depression that could come about as a result of being sexually abused,” explains Rosen.

Parenting Arizona also recommends when you leave your child with an adult family member, it’s a good idea to leave them with two or in a group setting.

ABC15 also talked to the Arizona Department of Education to find out what they're doing to keep your kids safe.

“The safety of your children when they go to school is the number one priority I think for everyone who works in the public school system, and there are a lot of laws on the books that really regulate who is allowed to become a teacher,” said ADE spokesperson Jennifer Liewer.

For example, anyone who has been convicted of a crime like what the Scottsdale teacher's aide is accused of, would never be allowed in a classroom. 

Teachers’ aides, coaches, anyone who has contact with kids has to pass a background check first. If you’re a teacher, you have to do that and get a fingerprint clearance card which means if you do anything illegal after you’re hired, the school will find out.

"Once you go down to the local level, individual school districts have very thorough and specific personnel guidelines that they follow to try to do everything that they can to ensure a student's safety," Liewer said.



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