Today’s Gleaner lead story Pervert Teachers – Data Shows Sexual Predators Prevalent In Schools features Children’s Advocate Diahann Gordon-Harrison expressing grave concern over the fact that some teachers are “exhibiting predatory sexual behaviour” towards children in schools. What is worse, there are other members of staff who are covering it up. Just last week, the Children’s Advocate urged Jamaicans to speak up and take a stand against older men who impregnate teen girls and a few weeks earlier, we learned that some parents in St Thomas are pimping out their children. These headlines are especially troubling as we are currently celebrating Child Month, which is being observed under the theme ‘Parents Take Responsibility: Break the Cycle.’ The theme speaks specifically to parents, but it can also be taken as a call for all adults to do more to protect the most vulnerable members of the Jamaican society – our children.
This Tip Thursay, we share 10 tips from the Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) to help keep your child safe from predators.
- Teach children the name of their genitals in they same way they are taught their other body parts; that way, they can learn that even though their genitals are private, they are not too private so as not to be spoken about.
- Teach your children that no one has the right to touch them; also, teach them the difference between a ‘good touch’ and a ‘bad touch’.
- Teach your children early and often that there should be no secrets between them and their parents. Make them feel comfortable about talking about anything with you, whether it’s good or bad.
- Beware of adults who offer your children special gifts or toys. Also, beware of adults who want to take your children on trips or outings.
- Do not write your child’s name prominently on clothes, school bags or any other piece of clothing which is clearly visible to everyone.
- Make your children understand that a stranger is anyone he or she does not know well, even people they may recognise, like a postman or an ice cream vendor, is still a stranger. Help them to understand that someone can be a stranger even if they look nice or if they know the child’s name.
- As the child ages, create an environment where age-appropriate sexual topics can be discussed comfortably. Use news items and publicised reports of child abuse to start discussions about safety.
- If your child tells you that he or she has been sexually abused, listen carefully and take the disclosure seriously.
- Support your child and let them know that he or she is not responsible for the abuse.
- If you have concerns that your child is a victim of abuse, talk to your child’s paediatrician, a social worker or counsellor, or the police. These individuals can discuss your concerns and arrange for examination of the child.
Find some more useful tips and information here.