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What can I do to create a safe community for children?

All adults share the responsibility to protect children from sexual abuse.

Children are not responsible for protecting themselves against or avoiding sexual abuse. We can all help create respectful, healthy, and safe places for children.

Parents, guardians, educators, and other adults can create safe communities by learning how to do the following things with confidence:

  • Become comfortable talking with the children in your life about their bodies and development.
  • Respect when a child does not want to give or receive physical affection such as a hug, kiss, or “high-five” – even if it is from a family member.
  • Practice taking action when another adult acts inappropriately with a child or children (such as insisting on spending time alone with them or not respecting the child’s boundaries).
  • Notify an authority figure. Tell someone at school, a city official or law enforcement about behaviors that are making you uncomfortable.
  • Talk with another parent about the situation.
  • Talk with your child or other children about what to do if they feel uncomfortable with the adult.
  • Know what support is available if abuse is suspected.
    • In an emergency, call 911.
    • In Pennsylvania, call CHILDLINE at 1-800-932-0313.
    • Nationally, call Childhelp, the national child abuse hotline, 1-800-4-A-Child (422-4453).
    • You can submit a report online via the Child Welfare Portal.
  • Reach out for help when you suspect any form of abuse against a child.