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Talking to children about abuse

Talking to children about abuse is a difficult thing to do, how do you tell them enough to help them protect themselves but without making them overly scared.  The BBC has reported advice from Dr Nina Burrowes, a specialist psychologist.  Dr Burrows says that parents often warn children about “stranger danger” which is, in fact, an unhelpful myth, as most abused children know their abuser, and fail to teach their children about the risk of abuse from people they know.

Dr Burrows advice is that parents should talk about sexual abuse in the same way they teach their children about bad behaviour:

  • Introduce the subject by saying “can I talk to you about this – because it’s important to me”
  • Approach the conversation in the same way you would teach children how to play with others and explain where it is ok to touch people
  • Tell them the difference between a “good secret” – like a surprise party – and a “bad secret” – one which you can never tell anyone

The full article can be read here