For Children and Teens
You deserve to be safe and healthy! If you are being abused, tell someone you trust like a parent, teacher, grandparent, or another adult.
Abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, or can involve neglect. As children and teens, it’s important to be aware of what abuse is and how to stay safe.
No one has the right to hurt your body. No one has the right to look at or touch the private parts of your body. No one has the right to touch you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable. If this happens to you: say “no!”, run away to the closest, safe adult and tell that adult what happened.
If this has happened to you in the past, you can still tell an adult. This is important so you can get help and stay safe. Your body belongs to you!
Most of the time, children are abused by someone they know and trust. If you are being abused, it is not your fault. You are not alone and you can talk to someone who can help you.
If you are in danger, or someone you know is in danger, call 911 now!
Myth vs Fact
The statistics are alarming. Every eight minutes, a child is sexually abused in the United States and nearly five children die every day from neglect and abuse.
What people think … Child abuse happens only with strangers.
What we know … in over 90% of reported child abuse cases, children are abused by someone they know, love and trust. In fact, 39% of all perpetrators are family members.
What people think … Children usually tell someone that they are being abused.
What we know … Most children DO NOT tell. Only 1 in 10 sexually abused children disclose their abuse. Abusers can be very effective in making children too fearful to talk about what is going on. Often children do not have the words to use to let someone know what is happening to them.
What people think … Only men abuse children.
What we know … Male perpetrators tend to be the majority of reported cases of abuse, however, women are also capable of child sexual abuse. Reports of female perpetrators are on the rise, with both male and female children.
What people think … Children make these types of things up for attention.
What we know … Children very rarely make false accusations about being sexually abused. Most victims are very reluctant to disclose abuse. They feel shame and blame themselves for the abuse, often because the offender is someone they care about. About 90 percent of the time, a child knows their abuser and some 39 percent are abused by a family member. It is estimated that only 4-8 percent of child sexual abuse reports are fabricated.
What people think … A medical evaluation will prove if a child has been sexually abused.
What we know … The vast majority of child victims of sexual abuse do not have medical findings that substantiate sexual abuse. Many acts leave no physical trace. Injuries resulting from sexual abuse tend to heal quickly and, in most instances, exams of child victims do not take place on the same day as the alleged act of abuse due to delayed disclosure.
What people think … Only girls are abused.
What we know … Boys may be victims of abuse. One in 10 children will suffer some form of sexual abuse before their 18th birthday. Often sexual abuse of male victims is underreported due to social and cultural attitudes: boys are taught to not let others see vulnerability. Boys are aware at an early age of the social stigma attached to sexual assault and fear appearing weak to others. All of these attitudes make male child victims far less likely to tell of their abuse.
What people think … Talking to children about sexual abuse will simply frighten them.
What we know … It is important for children to develop basic safety skills in a way that is helpful rather than frightening. Children should learn the proper names for their body parts, including their genitals. Children should know they have permission to refuse unwanted touching from adults and other children.