Jeff Herman, is a nationally-renowned attorney with Herman Law Group who specializes in representing victims of sexual abuse. He provides valuable insight about how parents can protect children against sexual abuse. Jeff has successfully advocated on behalf of victims and secured million dollar verdicts throughout the United States. He is admitted to practice in New York and Florida, but has also been admitted pro hac vice in many other states. Jeff’s expertise has been publicized by national media outlets and he has served as a contributor for cable news programs.
To protect against sexual abuse, Jeff Herman suggests that parents communicate with their children. In doing so, he makes the following recommendations:
1) Keep it Age Appropriate–speak with your children early and at a level they will understand. Use familiar and anatomically correct vocabulary to describe what is acceptable.
2) Teach them to say ‘no!’–children at all ages should understand that they have the right to say ‘no’ if someone makes them uncomfortable.
3) Use examples–make sure your children understand that no person should harm them, including family, friends, teachers, police officers, coaches and religious leaders.
4) Keep communicating–sex should not be a one-time topic. Continue to communicate with your children about sex abuse and issues. Always keep an open line of communication so your children feel comfortable.
Sexual predators know how to manipulate and take advantage of children. Parents need to ensure that they have a great relationship with their children so there is trust. Parents should also carefully monitor their children’s social media use and know with whom they communicate.
Parents should also be familiar with the various warning signs of sexual abuse, including sudden changes in behavior, regression to previous behaviors (e.g., bed wetting, thumb sucking), acting out sexually, and self harm.
Most importantly, parents need to develop a relationship of trust with their children. Children need to feel comfortable discussing personal and difficult subjects. If necessary, parents will need to be somewhat nosy in their children’s lives. Through proactive involvement, parents can help protect children against abuse and provide them with the necessary support.