Free Education and Awareness Resources Announced
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In honor of National Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse Prevention Month, Lauren’s Kids is sharing key safety tips, highlighting FREE prevention resources for families, and announcing numerous events and outreach campaigns during the month of April to help spread awareness and prevent children from abuse.
“For the last 15 years, we have been committed to shining a light into the darkness – shattering stigma to prevent abuse and support survivors,” said Senator Lauren Book, Founder, and CEO of Lauren’s Kids, and one of the 42 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse living in the US today. “All too often, people think ‘no one in my life is experiencing abuse – I would know,’ but in reality, one in three girls and one in five boys will become a victim of sexual abuse before they graduate from high school, and 1 in 5 children who touches a digital device will be sexually solicited online. It doesn’t have to be this way, and Lauren’s Kids has developed free resources to help families teach critical personal safety skills from a place of empowerment and fun, not fear.”
Over the past 15 years, the Lauren’s Kids Foundation has discovered that parents and families can sometimes avoid having important conversations with their kids that feel too difficult or uncomfortable to discuss. The good news is that there are ways to teach children about the importance of personal safety and that 95% of childhood sexual abuse is preventable through awareness and education. Check out these 5 tips to help your child identify “safe” and “unsafe” situations, people and secrets, and listen to their “guiding voice.
‘News You Can Use’ April Safety Highlights for Families:
5 Safety Tips Every Child Should Know by Age 5
- Help kids develop a ‘Trusted Triangle’ of Grown-Up Buddies – Grown-up buddies are people who are old enough to drive who help a child to be safe in any situation. A Grown-Up Buddy is someone your child can confide in whenever they feel uncomfortable or confused – whether it’s a fight with a friend, a bad dream, or a touch that’s not quite right. Help your child identify three Grown Up Buddies to develop a “Trusted Triangle” of safety; at least one Grown-Up Buddy should be someone outside of your family.
- Help Kids Understand Body Boundaries – It’s important to help children understand that the area around their body is their own personal space and that no one should violate their body boundaries. Ask your child to stand up, stretch their arms horizontally and imagine there is a big bubble that starts over their head and reaches to the bottom of their feet; these are the boundaries for their personal space. No one should ever touch your child in a way that makes them feel unsafe or hurt, and no one should touch or photograph the private parts of their body covered by their bathing suit.
- Help Kids Understand Safe Contact – Explain the difference between safe and unsafe contact or touches. A safe touch respects personal boundaries and feels welcomed (hive-five, fist bumps, or hugs – when your child feels comfortable to give them). Safe touches make your child feel happy and loved. An unsafe touch is any kind of touch that makes your child feel icky, scared, hurt, or confused. Unsafe touches, like body boundary violations, must be reported to a Grown-Up Buddy immediately!
- Help Kids Understand Safe Secrets – Safe secrets are those that make your child feel happy, safe, and excited; unsafe secrets make your child feel uncomfortable, confused, sad, or not quite right. If an adult asks a child to keep a secret that can never be told, it is an unsafe secret. (Things like surprise parties or the gender of a baby are examples of safe secrets an adult may tell a child – these secrets will eventually be told to everyone and will make people feel happy or excited.) If your child is asked to keep an unsafe secret, they must go to a Grown-Up Buddy right away.
- Help Kids Find Their Voice – Help and empower your child to use their “I Mean Business Voice” to say “STOP! That’s not safe” or “STOP! I don’t like that,” any time they need to be heard during an uncomfortable, scary, or unsafe situation. Children who are comfortable accessing this voice will respond in a strong authoritative manner to prevent the situation from continuing.
Learn more safety tips, tricks, and tools for children of all ages – from young kids to teenagers – at SaferSmarterFamilies.org.
In addition to the “Safer, Smarter Families” resource above, the Lauren’s Kids foundation provides a developmentally appropriate personal safety and abuse prevention curriculum program, called “Safer, Smarter Kids” (K-12) and “Safer, Smarter Teens” (Middle/High), at no cost to Florida’s public and charter schools. This curriculum impacts more than one million children annually. Children who receive school-based education about child sexual abuse are 3.5 times more likely to report if they had been/were being abused, compared to children who did not receive that education.
April Public Awareness Efforts and Events:
Appetite for Giving – Dine, Donate, Stop Child Abuse!
Lauren’s Kids is proud to partner with restaurants across South Florida during the month of April to raise awareness and the essential funding to ensure every child is healthy, protected, and safe. More than 20 Miami-Dade and Broward restaurants are heating up their kitchens and providing patrons the opportunity to dine, donate and help our mission to prevent abuse and help survivors heal. Check out some of our participating restaurant heroes and make a plan today to dine & donate in the month of April!
42 Miles for the 42 Million Virtual Walk
Lauren’s Kids is challenging YOU to “Keep Shining Light” by walking 42 miles throughout April – National Sexual Assault Awareness Month & National Child Abuse Prevention Month – in honor of the 42 million survivors of child sexual abuse living in the U.S. today. Register today!
42 Hours for the 42 Million Capitol Events
Since 2019, advocates, legislators, state leaders, survivors, and community members have joined the Lauren’s Kids foundation, Senator Lauren Book and the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence to walk for 42+ continuous hours in the rotunda of the Florida Capitol, in honor of the 42 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse living in the U.S. today and to advocate for societal and legislative change. Registration Coming Soon!
For more information on all Lauren’s Kids Sexual Assault Awareness Month events and resources visit our Keep Shining Light: Get Involved From Anywhere — April Activities & Events page today!