Creating a safe, comfortable environment for kids

Creating a safe, comfortable environment for kids

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Sylvia’s CAC is helping Boone County parents, caregivers, educators, and leaders learn the signs of abuse, how to respond, and more.

This month, we’re highlighting ways to create a safe, comfortable environment for kids.

A safe environment for kids to come forward and disclose danger or fear

The majority of abuse and neglect kids experience is at the hands of their parents or caregivers. Further, 90% of children who are abused know their abuser. When kids are afraid to come forward the abuse continues.

  • Talk to and remind your kids you are a safe, trusted adult.
  • If you suspect a child is being harmed, avoid forcing them to talk if they’re not ready. It may take time, but if you suspect they or someone they know is in danger, call 1-800-800-5556.
  • Help kids understand what isn’t appropriate in an age-appropriate way

Sylvia’s CAC hosts regular prevention trainings for adults to help learn the signs and how to respond. You can request one for your school, group, or organization.

Sign up for or request a Prevention Education training
A mother talks with her young son at a table filled with breakfast foods.
Creating a safe environment means reminding kids you love them.
A young man drives a car and speaks to an older man in the passenger seat.
Talking to older kids and teens in a car is often a safe, useful place for conversation.

Freedom from fear and judgment

Older kids and teens may not want to talk their parents for many different reasons, including a fear of another caregiver. They may disclose abuse to a teacher, a school-age friend, coach, or someone else.

Parents can help if you suspect something is amiss:

  • Avoid asking why they didn’t come to you first. Just be glad they told someone.
  • Avoid approaching their friends directly. Just remind everyone you love your child.
  • If you want or need to talk with your kids, doing so on a car ride is a great place since it’s private, hard to avoid talking, and a known place.

Stay positive

Disclosing abuse can be scary for everyone, but you can help by staying positive and reminding them you love them. Avoid trying to ask every detail, though. Leave that to professionals to help minimize repeat trauma.

Be straightforward

None of us have all the answers to every question, so don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know, but we can find out,” if your child asks a question you don’t know. This is good advice regardless of what they ask at any age.

Set good examples

Talk about yourself from time to time to set a good example. Share stories from your childhood or a time you were worried or upset. This can encourage children to talk about their own private experiences and remind them you love them.

Consider a safe, vetted mentor to expose kids to new experiences and people

Boone County Mentoring Partnership

Boone County’s Mentoring Partnership helps parents and caregivers who just need a little extra help for whatever reason by pairing kids and safe adults with similar interests.

The Mentoring Partnership is a great way to:

  • Help kids with academics, homework, and job training
  • Let kids and teens explore new and different interests, like hiking or sports or many other talents
  • Give kids a different, supplemental role model in their lives
Visit the Boone Co. Mentoring Partnership
Mentor Ben Faust poses with his mentee at an Indianapolis Indians game.
An adult mentor can be a great way to help kids meet new, safe adults, explore new interests, and more.

Everyone in Indiana is a mandated reporter of suspected abuse

All Hoosiers, regardless of age, occupation, faith, or any other status, are required to report any suspicion of abuse.

If it’s an emergency, call 911. Or, call the Indiana Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-800-5556.

Want to do more for kids in Boone County? Donate now to Sylvia’s CAC to help fund prevention education sessions and our core mission to help in the investigation of crimes against children.

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