Why do we need to have protective behaviour conversations with our kids from a young age?

Click on the video to the left to see a summary of my Parent Presentation explaining why we need to empower our kids with the knowledge that their body is private and that they have a right to protect their privacy?

In Summary:

  • 2 girls and 1 boy in the average primary school class will report being sexually abused before the age of 15 years. This statistic is only the tip of the iceberg as we know so much abuse goes unreported. Sadly, approximately 90% of these victims are abused by someone the victim knows (see below for a full breakdown).
  • Childhood sexual abuse cuts across all demographics of society. It doesn't matter what cultural or socio-economic group you identify as - all our children are at risk and desire to be empowered to protect themselves.
  • A significant amount of victims are abused by their peers or other young children. Which means children can be abused in situations where you least expect it (eg. playdates, kids parties, sporting activities) and even when you are physically supervising your children.
  • The benefits of speaking to your child from a young age:
    • it becomes a natural and normal part of your relationship;
    • they can identify inappropriate behaviour;
    • by providing specific scenarios to your child that a predator might use during the grooming process you increase the likelihood that they will  disclose inappropriate behaviour in the early stages;
    • it gives them confidence to say 'no' when they don't feel comfortable about a situation;
    • you can increase the likelihood of your child disclosing abuse by teaching them that inappropriate behaviour is never a secret no matter who the person is, that it is never their fault and that nothing bad will happen no matter what the predator might threaten.


In a world where child sexual abuse is a very serious social concern, I believe it's vitally important to begin educating our children from a very young age. Particularly, as statistics indicate that the most vulnerable age for children to be exposed to sexual assault, appears to be between the ages of 3 and 8 years of age, with the majority of onset of abuse happening between these ages.*

Sadly, statistics** also indicate that 12% of females and 4.5% of males report having been sexually abused before the age of 15 years. In reality, the statistics are probably much higher as these only reflect the cases that were actually reported at or around the time of the abuse. Of those reported cases:
  • 45% were abused be a relative (i.e. parent, step-parent, grandparent, sibling, uncle, aunty or cousin)'
  • 47% were abused by a friend, neighbour, acquaintance or were otherwise known to them;
  • 11% were abused by a stranger.
And as recent reports have revealed, abuse can even be perpetrated by a child's own peers.

*According to Bravehearts' Sexual Assault Facts and Statistics documents 2012.
**According to statistics cited in the Australian Institute of Criminology's website.


Please find below links to resources listing signs and indications that a child may have been sexually abused:

Bravehearts: Signs & Indicators of Sexual Abuse

CASA: Indicators of Child Sexual Abuse

Department of Communities, Child Safety & Disabilities: Child Sexual Abuse Document


Contact numbers in Australia if you suspect a child has been abused:

1800RESPECT National Helpline 1800 737 732

Bravehearts Information & Support Line 1800 272 831

HERE for a list of departments responsible for child protection in your state or territory.


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