Protecting children from sexual abuse


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Studies show that 60 percent of children who were sexually abused was by someone they trust.

That’s why 6 News reporter Dana Whyte reached out to experts ahead of the holidays to talk about red flags that parents should look out for while out with their children.

“It’s not okay just because it’s the holidays to allow inexcusable behavior,” said Sara Tunney, the director of sexual assault programs at EVE.

The organization Darkness to Light reports that one in ten children will experience sexual abuse before their 18th birthday.

That’s why Tunney says it’s important that parents recognize the warning signs.

“The feeling of being violated by someone that you know brings extra guilt and shame into that picture and it might be somebody that you care about, and you don’t want to get that person in trouble, so that really puts a child especially in a very difficult situation,” said Tunney.

“It’s important for parents to respect children’s boundaries and their comfort level, if its hugging, kissing relatives or friends of the family, that they should go what their children feel is appropriate, like if they don’t want to, they shouldn’t make them do that,” said Tunney. “It’s also important to be aware if anybody is trying to seclude your child into like a private space with them.”

Tunney adds that its crucial that parents are ready to help their child if something bad did happen. She says it’ll make all the difference.

“If a child does disclose something to you, it’s very important that you are ready for that disclosure and the most important thing that somebody can hear who is disclosing something like that, is that you believe them,” said Tunney.

If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual abuse and need help, click here.

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