In attaining her Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership, Katrina focussed her dissertation on Dismantling Rape Culture, and was awarded the “Graduate with Distinction Award” at CSU Sacramento. We are humbled to have received recognition of our work within a vital dissection of cultural issues and solutions and even more humbled to have received permission from Katrina to share her dissertation with our own connections via our website.Read More
Dear Principals of Elementary and Primary Schools, and Directors of Kindergartens
As a principal or director of a school or kindergarten, you are in a very powerful position to make a massive difference to the lives of the children in your care. Body Safety Education taught at your institution could literally change the course of a child’s life.
Firstly here are some *statistics (sources below). Did you know …
• 20% of girls and 8% of boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. Think about this statistic in terms of a class of 30 kids at your school. That is approximately 3 girls and 1 boy will be sexually abused before 18.
• In 85 to 90% of cases, the sexual offender is known to the child. Child sexual abusers are in our homes, schools and communities. They are not only grooming children, they are grooming the adults who care for them.
• The most vulnerable age for children to be exposed to sexual assault is between 3 and 8 years. We need to start prevention education early!
• 1 in 3 adults would not believe a child if they disclosed sexual abuse. We not only need to educate our kids, we need to educate the community to believe a child’s disclosure.
• We know that in 98% of reported child sexual abuse cases, children’s disclosures were found to be true. Children do not lie about sexual abuse.
The tragic aftermath of child sexual abuse can have horrific and life-changing consequences. But what I want to tell you is that prevention education is actually incredibly easy. It is age-appropriate and empowering. Principals and directors such as yourselves and your staff have the ability to change the statistics I have quoted. Choosing to teach Body Safety Education to the children in your care can change outcomes for children.
If you are holding back because you are worried that parents won’t support this type of education, than I think you are wrong. In my experience, through social media and feedback from my work, parents are on board! With every second news story about historical child sexual abuse, this younger generation of parent is very keen for the past never to be repeated.
I know your curriculum is crowded but with simple professional development teachers can teach Body Safety; two, 30-minute lessons over five weeks is all it takes to impart this crucial knowledge to children. I know! I’ve done it in my own classroom.
Adults are 100% responsible for educating kids in Body Safety. And they are 100% responsible for educating themselves about child sexual abuse. Child sexual abusers are 100% responsible for sexually abusing a child.
We, as teachers, are in a privileged position to work with kids and help protect them. We can do this! Please don’t let our adult fear of this topic put our kids at risk. Our children are looking to us for protection. I am not a survivor of child sexual abuse. I am just a concerned teacher and parent who believes we can do so much more for our kids.
So next time you are at assembly and you see all those gorgeous faces looking up at you, please think about those statistics. And please implement a Body Safety program at your educational institution. Body Safety Education taught at your school or kindergarten could literally change the course of a child’s life. Please help me and other advocates like me. We are asking you to be as passionate about protecting children from child sexual abuse as we are. Please contact me through www.e2epublishing.info if you need more information.
* 20% of girls and 8% of boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. (Pereda, et al, 2009)
* In 85 to 90% of cases, the sexual offender was known to the child. (NSW Commission for Children & Young People, 2009)
* The most vulnerable age for children to be exposed to sexual assault is between 3 and 8 years. (Browne & Lynch, 1994)
* 1 in 3 adults would not believe a child if they disclosed sexual abuse. (Australian Childhood Foundation, 2010)
* We know that in 98% of reported child sexual assault cases, children’s disclosures were found to be true. (NSW Child protection Council, cited in Dympna House, 1998)
To download FREE Body Safety posters for your classroom go to www.e2epublishing.info/posters/
All Jayneen’s books are published by Educate2Empower Publishing an award-winning niché children's book publisher who specializes in children's books on BODY SAFETY, CONSENT, GENDER EQUALITY and RESPECTFUL RELATIONSHIPS. Educate2Empower Publishing also provides free resources for parents, caregivers and educators on these important topics. For more information go to: www.e2epublishing.info All Jayneen's books are available on Amazon.
As a parent and an educator I find the statistics below both confronting and horrifying. However, they do highlight the reasons WHY we need to teach the children in our care Body Safety from the earliest of years. Such age-appropriate knowledge is empowering for children, and might well be the difference between a child becoming one of these statistics or not.
As an advocate for Body Safety Education in both homes and schools, I have heard many sad and crippling stories from adult survivors; but it’s this one shared comment that stays with me, “If only I had known from the first inappropriate touch it was wrong, my life could have been so different.”
I am not a survivor of childhood sexual abuse but I am a mother and teacher who believes we can do better by our kids. We need to put our adult fear of this topic aside, and take on the responsibility of educating our children so they know to tell, and keep on telling until they are believed. We also have a responsibility to educate ourselves so we know the signs of sexual abuse and grooming. Believing a child when they disclose sexual abuse is of the utmost importance, as is our reaction to the disclosure.
These statistics are a call to action for parents, carers and teachers everywhere — let’s educate ourselves and our kids in Body Safety, and like any good “ripple effect,” let’s educate others to do the same! I am asking you to play your part. Ironically, you may never know but your advocacy could positively change a child’s life forever.
1. Approximately 20 percent of girls (1 in 5) and 8 percent of boys (1 in 12.5) will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday (Pereda et al, 2009)
2. 95 percent of sexually abused children will be abused by someone they know and trust (NAPCAN 2009).
3. Of those molesting a child under six, 50 percent were family members. Family members also accounted for 23 percent of those abusing children 12 to 17 years (Snyder, 2000).
4. The most vulnerable age for children to be exposed to sexual assault is between 3 and 8 years with the majority of onset happening between these ages (Browne & Lynch, 1994).
5. Males made up 90 percent of adult child sexual assault perpetrators, while 3.9 percent of perpetrators were female, with a further 6 percent classified as ’unknown gender’ (McCloskey & Raphael, 2005).
6. As many of 40 percent of children who are sexually abused are abused by older, or more powerful children. (Finkelhor, 2012) Note: with the easy access to pornography we are seeing more and more cases of child on child sexual abuse, and older children/siblings sexually abusing younger children. Twenty-three percent of all 10 to 17 year olds experience exposure to unwanted pornography (Jones L., et al 2012).
7. Eighty-four percent of sexual victimization of children under 12 occurs in a residence (Snyder, 2000).
8. In 98 percent of child abuse cases reported to officials, children’s statements were found to be true (NSW Child Protection Council, cited in Dympna House 1998).
9. 1 in 3 adults would not believe a child if they disclosed sexual abuse (Australian Childhood Foundation, 2010).
10. Seventy-three percent of child victims do not tell anyone about the abuse for at least 1 year. Forty-five percent do not tell anyone for 5 years. Some never disclose (Broman-Fulks et al, 2007).
11. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse are 10 to 13 times more likely to attempt suicide. (Plunkett A, O’Toole B, Swanston H, Oates RK, Shrimpton S, Parkinson P 2001).
12. Children living without either parent (foster children) are 10 times more likely to be sexually abused than children who live with both biological parents. Children who live with a single parent that has a live-in partner are at the highest risk: they are 20 times more likely to be victims of sexual abuse than children living with both biological parents (Sedlack et al, 2010).
In my experience, children do not lie about sexual abuse and the research would indicate this. Please educate your child in Body Safety. I truly hope they may never need this knowledge but think of it as a safety belt — just in case.
We also know that children who are being sexually abused may first disclose to a friend. If that friend has been educated in Body Safety they will know to tell a trusted adult on their Safety Network. Educating children in Body Safety is in the best interests of all children.
If these statistics have raised any issues please, go to this links page. For more statistics and general information on child sexual abuse please visit Darkness to Light. To help get sexual abuse prevention education in all schools in the US please support Erin’s Law.
Free My Body Safety Rules poster to download for the children in your life.
Australian Childhood Foundation (2010). Doing Nothing Hurts Children. Ringwood [Vic]: Australian Childhood Foundation.
Broman-Fulks, J. J., Ruggiero, K. J., Hanson, R. F., Smith, D. W., Resnick, H. S., Kilpatrick, D. G., & Saunders, B. E. (2007). Sexual assault disclosure in relation to adolescent mental health: Results from the National Survey of Adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 36: 260 – 266
Browne, K. & Lynch, M. (1994). Prevention: Actions speak louder than words. Child Abuse Review, 3: 241-244.
Fergusson, D. M., & Mullen, P. E. (1999). Childhood sexual abuse: An evidence based perspective. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc.
Finkelhor D. (2012) Characteristics of crimes against juveniles, Durham, NH: Crimes Against Children research Centre
Jones L., Mitchell K., Finkelhor D. (2012) Trends in youth victimization: findings from three youth internet safety surveys 2000-2010, Journal of Adolescent Health 50: 179-186
McCloskey KA, Raphael DN. Adult perpetrator gender asymmetries in child sexual assault victim selection: results from the 2000 National Incident-Based Report System. J Child Sex Abus. 2005;14(4):1-24.
New South Wales Child Protection Council, (1998). Managing Sex Offenders
Pereda, Guilera, Forns and Gomez-Benito (2009) The prevalence of child sexual abuse in community and student samples: a meta-analysis
Plunkett A, O’Toole B, Swanston H, Oates RK, Shrimpton S, Parkinson P. Suicide risk following child sexual abuse (2001)
Sedlak, A.J., Mettenburg, J., Basena, M., Petta, I., McPherson, K., Greene, A., and Li, S. (2010). Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS–4): Report to Congress, Executive Summary. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.
Snyder, H. N. (2000). Sexual assault of young children as reported to law enforcement: Victim, incident, and offender characteristics. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Program, Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Note: Every attempt has been made to locate all references and their links. Due to the nature of this research statistics will vary according to the individual and/or team’s research data.
First published in The Huffingtonpost.
1. 20% of girls and 8% of boys will experience childhood sexual abuse before their 18th birthday (Fergusson & Mullen, 1999; NSW Commission for Children & Young People, 2009).
2. Approximately 95% of sex abusers are known to the child (NAPCAN 2009). They will be amongst your family, friends and the community. Remember sexual predators groom both YOU and YOUR CHILD.
3. The most vulnerable age for children to be exposed to sexual abuse is between 3 and 8 years with the majority of onset happening between these ages (Browne & Lynch, 1994). It is NEVER too early to start teaching Body Safety (aka sexual abuse prevention education) to children.
4. Up to 95% of child sexual abusers are male (Bagley, 1995). They can be single, married and have families of their own. Women do abuse but the majority of sexual predators are male.
5. In 98% of child abuse cases reported to officials, children’s statements were found to be true (NSW Child Protection Council, cited in Dympna House 1998). Children DO NOT lie about being sexually abused.
6. Children who live with a single parent that has a live-in partner are at the highest risk of sexual abuse: they are 20 times more likely to be victims of sexual abuse than children living with both biological parents (Sedlack et al, 2010). Be very careful who you bring into your home and your life.
7. Research tells us that your child is more likely to be sexually abused than suffer from asthma (Australian Institute of Health & Welfare, Bureau of Criminology and CASA House). Think about that!
My final point: Don’t let your adult fear of this topic put children at risk. Body Safety Education is age-appropriate, empowering and key to keeping children safe from the life-long trauma that is childhood sexual abuse. Talk about this topic openly with family and friends, and educate your children and encourage others to do the same. As adults we have a duty of care to protect the children in our communities; so let’s work together to remove the shadows in which predators hide because this is exactly what they don’t want us to do!
Jayneen Sanders (aka Jay Dale) is a teacher, author, mother of three daughters and an active advocate for sexual abuse prevention education and respectful relationships to be taught both in the home and in schools.
For more information on this topic and Jay’s children's books 'Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept', 'Pearl Fairweather Pirate Captain', ‘No Means No!’, ‘My Body! What I say Goes!’, ‘No Difference Between Us’, and her parents’ guide ‘Body Safety Education — A parents’ guide to protecting kids from sexual abuse’ go to www.e2epublishing.info
All books are also available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2cC7QNb
We had a beautiful day here in Melbourne on Sunday. The sun was out, the sky was blue and the grass was green — littered with families picnicking in the magnificent Botanical Gardens. My husband and I wandered the shady paths, taking in all the joy. We even visited the children’s garden — I just love how it has been designed; everything being the perfect size for children!
As I looked over the happy families enjoying the very best of Melbourne spring weather, I could not help but think of the statistics we know to be true. One in 5 girls and 1 in 8 boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday (Pereda et al, 2009). 85% of children will know their perpetrator (NSW Commission for Children & Young People, 2009). We also know the most vulnerable age for children to be exposed to sexual abuse is between 3 and 8 years (Browne & Lynch, 1994). As we wandered around the gardens taking in the joyful atmosphere, I did wonder how many of these caring and devoted parents had talked to their kids about Body Safety. How many of them had begun this very important and empowering conversation. I'm sure the majority had talked to their kids about stranger danger, water safety and road safety; but sadly, I suspect most had not talked to their kids about Body Safety.
Yet, the statistics would indicated that their child is more likely to be sexually abused by a family member or close acquaintance than break a limb, drown or be run over. In my mind, I was wishing ... if only all these adults, so kindly caring for their little ones, had come to hear me talk about Body Safety. What if they were all gathered to learn how they could teach their child about safe and unsafe touch. What if I was here to pass on what I know about Body Safety Education; and what if I was here to educate the community about grooming and how important it is to believe a child if they disclose sexual abuse. Imagine how many children might be saved from the devastating, life-long effects of childhood sexual abuse. Looking around these families, the sunny day dimmed for me — so many kids, so many parents and so so many uneducated in Body Safety. Please help me and other advocates by sharing what you know about Body Safety with other families. A child’s life may well depend on it.
Up to 95% of child sexual abusers are male (Bagley, 1995). They can be single, married and have families of their own. Up to 1/3 of reported offenses are committed by adolescents (Bagley, 1995). 95% of abusers will be known to the family (Child Protection Council, 1993). They will be a trusted friend and/or family member.
It is crucial to note, that child sex offenders ‘groom’ both the child and the family. It is also important to note, that the sexual abuse of children has no social boundaries.
Child sexual offenders are skilled at deception and conniving in all their perverse undertakings. They will:
• Always plan their sexual abuse of a child. In fact, they may plan and ‘groom’ for a number of years before making sexual contact with the child. They will plan in detail how they will spend time with the family and the child, how they will get time alone with the child, and especially what threats they will use on the child in order for the abuse not to be revealed. Ensuring the child ‘keeps the secret’ is of extreme importance to the offender — if the child does tell, the consequences for the offender are catastrophic. Therefore, they will use whatever means they can for the child to keep the secret. This includes subtly discrediting the child by making them out to be a liar — so if they ever do disclose, they won’t be believed.
• Choose a victim very carefully. They will test the child’s reaction to touch. In fact, one male offender stated in an interview that he will firstly stroke a child’s arm and if they cuddle up closely and are receptive to the touch, than that child will be his next victim.
• Work very hard at being liked (even loved) by the child and his or her family. For example, the abuser will often help the family out on short notice, appearing as reliable and trustworthy friend. This is the persona a pedophile will go to great lengths to establish.
• Scheme to get ‘alone time’ with a child (or group of children) and will spend a lot of their out-of-hours recreation time with children.
“Because the offender is often a person well-known and trusted to the child and their family, they usually can easily arrange to be alone with the child — therefore the abuse is commonly repeated. This abuse rarely involves violence because instead of force, these offenders use promises, threats and bribes to take advantage of their trusted relationship with the child’s family and the subsequent powerlessness of the child. In some cases, this can go on for years.”
(NSW Child Protection Council, 2000)
• Target busy parents who are in need of extra help. They will also target vulnerable and disadvantage communities.
“Children who live with a single parent that has a live-in partner are at the highest risk: they are 20 times more likely to be victims of sexual abuse than children living with both biological parents.” (Sedlack et al, 2010)
• Change jobs and addresses to avoid detection.
Grooming is about power over the child and using that power to maintain the secret. It is about making sure the child never tells. Grooming can take place over days, weeks or years. A groomer taking time to ‘groom’ enables trust between the abuser and the child (and the family) to build up. This trust, in turn, creates opportunities for regular abuse to occur.
Grooming techniques can include:
• Making the child feel extra special by giving them special presents and treats and/or taking them on outings. The child will be made to feel as if they are the groomer’s ‘confidante’.
“The strategies employed by offenders to gain the compliance of children more often involve giving gifts, lavishing attention and attempting to form emotional bonds than making threats or engaging in physical coercion. Many sexual encounters with children were proceeded by some form of non-sexual physical contact.”
(Smallbone & Wortley, 2000)
• Helping families at the ‘drop of a hat’ so trust is built up over time, enabling the abuser to spend more time alone with the child without suspicion.
• Physical contact such as rubbing the child’s shoulder or an arm, stroking his or her hair and then watching for the child’s reaction. If the child is receptive, the touching will continue. The touching may well begin as an ‘innocent’, ‘fun’ game of tickling that the child enjoys, but later when the abuser deems the child ‘groomed’, the touch will turn to sexualised contact.
• Encouraging the child to keep secrets that at first may not be of a sexual nature. These ‘fun’ secrets are intended to build up a sense that the abuser and the child have a ‘special’ relationship. Note: an abuser will use ‘guilt’ and ‘blaming’ techniques to coerce the child into believing that they are an equal participant in the ‘shameful’ secret and are equally too blame. The abuser may even make the victim feel they encouraged the sexual contact. The child can be so guilt-ridden they may never disclose and this is the perpetrator’s key aim.
• Using threats and blackmail to ensure the child keeps the secret. Threats such as the child will go to jail if they tell and they will never see their family again, that no-one will believe them and that they will be destroy the family, etc. The abuser will work very hard to ensure the child never tells.
The above information only reinforces why we MUST educate our children in body safety before they become victims of the grooming process, ending in them being sexually abused by the perpetrator and in many cases, for a number of years.
Children need to to know these three key and life-changing rules:
1. Their body is their body and no-one has the right to touch it.
2. They must never ever keep secrets that make them feel bad or uncomfortable.
3. If someone touches their body, they must tell, tell, tell; and keeping on telling until they are believed.
Jayneen Sanders (aka Jay Dale) is a teacher, author, mother of three teenage daughters and an active advocate for sexual abuse prevention education both in the home and in schools.
For more information on this topic and Jay’s children's book on safe and unsafe touch 'Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept' go to www.somesecrets.info
'Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept' now available on Amazon in 7 seven languages.
Jayneen's new book 'Body Safety Education — A parents' guide to protecting kids from sexual abuse' is now available at:
To talk to someone about child sexual abuse or any abuse, or for support as a family member or friend to someone who has experienced sexual abuse, please call in Australia:
Victoria: Sexual Assault Crisis Line (SACL) 1800 806 292
Australia wide: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)
Or contact counselors at SECASA on (03) 9594 2289
• European researchers (COPINE) … found 78% of offenders charged with downloading or possessing abusive images had abused children prior to, or soon after viewing images. On average, each offender had abused up to 30 different children.
(Personal correspondence with Briggs 5th Jan 2006)
• 1 in 4 men arrested for possessing child pornography had a history of molesting children.
(Software Tracks Child Porn Traffickers On-line, USA Today 16th April 2008)
• In the US National Juvenile Online Victimization Survey by Wolak, Mitchell and Finkelhor (2003), it was found that a majority of the offenders arrested for possession of child exploitation materials were men. Most of these offenders possessed images of children who had not yet reached puberty. 83% had images of children ages 6 to 12 years, 39% had images of children 3 to 5 years and 19% had images of toddlers or infants.
(Griffith & Roth, 2007 cited in Choo 2009)
• After sex offender treatment, 80–85% of inmates convicted of possessing or distributing child pornography admitted that they had molested children, according to two studies by Andres Hernandez. At the time they were sentenced, 26–45% acknowledged molestation.
(Software Tracks Child Porn traffickers On-line, USA Today 16th April 2008)
• 1 in 5 children who use a computer has been approached over the internet by pedophiles within the past year.
(United States Department of Justice, cited on Protect Your Children On-line)
• Only 25% of children will tell a parent about an encounter with a predator who approached or solicited sex while on the internet, and less than 10% report sexual solicitation to legal authorities.
(iSAFE Inc December 12, 2006)
• Studies in 2000 reveal that of teenagers between 10 and 17 who regularly use the internet: 20% received sexual solicitation or approach over the internet in the last year: 1 in 33 received aggressive sexual solicitation and 25% had unwanted exposure to pictures of naked people having sex.
(National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Crimes Against Children Research Center and Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention 2000)
• The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center receives 400 calls a month from children who believe they have been approached by a pedophile on the internet.
(Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center2007)
Compiled by Jayneen Sanders
Jayneen Sanders (aka Jay Dale) is a teacher, author, mother of three teenage daughters and an active advocate for sexual abuse prevention education both in the home and in schools.
See Jay’s children's book Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept on this site.
Now available on Amazon in 7 seven languages. http://www.amazon.com/Jayneen-Sanders/e/B00BDCGZ1W/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
The sources for the following statistics are available below.