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  • Ensure children are in environments where they can be observed and interrupted if needed.  Lobby for policies to be put in place in schools, churches, and other youth serving organizations that will reduce the opportunities for children to be in isolated situations with other older children and/or adults.

  • Monitor activity online and social media apps.

  • Strengthen support of families.

  • Provide quality care and education early in life.

  • Enhance parenting skills to promote healthy child development

  • Intervene to lesson harms and prevent future risks.


Recognize the prevalence of sexual abuse and understand how it occurs

•Youth are the victims in 66% of all sexual offenses reported to law enforcement.

•35% of child victims are 11 years old or younger.

•Children who live in a single parent home with a live-in partner are 20 times more likely to be victims of sexual abuse.

•Children living without either parent (foster children) are 10 times more likely to be victims of sexual abuse.

•90% of children who are victims of sexual abuse know their abuser.

•30% of children who are sexually abused are abused by a family members.

•60% of children who are sexually abused are abused by people the family trusts.

•40% of children who are sexually abused are abused by older, or more powerful children.

•10% or less of children who are sexually abused are abused by a stranger.

•80% of sexual abuse incidents occur in a 1-on-1, isolated environment.  Minimize the risk!

Learn the facts
Minimize the risk


  • Set boundaries about safe vs unsafe touch:

    • It is never okay for grownups or older kids to touch your private body parts-except to keep you healthy and clean.

    • If someone touches your private body parts or asks you to touch theirs and then asks you to keep it a secret, tell someone about it right away. If the first person doesn’t believe you, tell someone else.

    • Anytime you feel mixed up about a touch…tell the person to stop and talk to a grownup you trust.

  • Use anatomically correct body part names to ensure there is no confusion.

  • Conversations with children and youth about their bodies, boundaries, and consent should be age appropriate and on going as they grow up and mature.

  • Talk to and share this information with family members and other adults.  Let others know you are aware and willing to protect the children in your life.

Talk about it


  • Sudden change in the way the child behaves; ranging from disruptive and aggressive to passive and withdrawn (sudden mental health issues, drop in grades, and /or decreased involvement in activities).

  • Display self-destructive behaviors (self harm, substance abuse, promiscuous behaviors)

  • Seductive or sexualized behavior with friends or other adults.

  • Excessive play with his or her own private body parts

  • Change in how much the child eats or sleeps (more or less) or changes in hygiene

  • Bedwetting and nightmares

  • Too much crying

  • The child has repeated injuries that are not properly treated or explained or injuries consistent with patterns or objects.

  • Frightened of or shrinks at approach of adult or caretaker; fear of being alone with a certain person.

  • The child acts in the role of parent toward their siblings or own parents.

  • Child may report abusive or neglect.

*This list is provided as a set of guidelines only and is not intended to be a comprehensive or exhaustive source.  These signs may not mean that abuse has or is occurred but are possible concerns about a child's overall wellbeing.  Remember, some children may not display any signs or concerns at all.

Recognize the signs


  • Disclosure

    • A child has chosen you as the person he or she trusts enough to tell.

    • Listen calmly and openly, don’t pressure for details, make a report.

  • Discovery

    • You’ve witnessed an abusive act or know by another way that abuse has taken place.

    • Gather pertinent facts and make a report.

  • Suspicion

    • You’ve seen signs in a child, or witnessed boundary violations.

    • At a minimum, you need to set some limits or ask some questions and make a report if necessary.

  • Tennessee Law, TCA 37-1-403(a)(1), states that any person, not just professionals, who has knowledge of suspected abuse or neglect is a mandated reporter and should make a report.  You are not required to have proof of child abuse/neglect in order to report your concerns.

React responsibly

Other Resources

Legal Aid of East TN

Appalachian Life Quality Initiative (ALQI)

Scott County Sexual Assault Services at SAI

ETHRA Transportation

TN Sex Offender Registry Search

Mt. People's Health Councils, Inc

Ridgeview Mental Health

Pinnacle Resource Center

Clinch-Powell Educational Cooperative

Head Start Programs

Lake Cumberland CAC (KY)

National Suicide Prevention Hotline


Crisis Services & Suicide Prevention


(855-274-7471) or Text “TN” to 741-741

Mobile Crisis Team

1-866-791-9224 (youth)

1-800-870-5181 (adult)

Kids Central TN

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