Protecting children from sexual abuse
Protecting children from sexual violence in facilities catering to minors
This free leaflet is intended for everyone who works with children in all professional and ancillary fields: animation, culture, education, leisure, social, sport …
We encourage you to spread the messages in this leaflet with all the staff at the beginning of each school year, and with each recruit throughout the year.
Children do not have the knowledge, experience, or words to express what they have experienced or suffered, because sexuality is an unknown world to them. So they will express their suffering and unhappiness using their body.
If in doubt, consult a professional.
Here are some signs that should alert you:
– bruising, pain and sores on the genitals, thighs or elsewhere on the body;
– genital and mouth irritation, recurrent urinary tract infections;
– significant weight gain/loss;
– with older children: eating disorders, self-mutilation and bodily marks, use of drugs and alcohol.
These are some behavioral changes that can alert you:
– they isolate themselves, no longer talking about their day, no longer saying what they did, no longer interested in what they previously enjoyed ;
– they are afraid, they refuse to go anywhere alone;
– their grades are deteriorating;
– they refuse hugs, physical proximity;
– they do not want to undress in front of an adult when they wash, go for a medical examination or visit the pool/beach;
– they are anxious, nervous, often cry or get angry, regress, begin to act and speak like a baby, suck their thumb, wet their bed when they were dry before;
– they lose their appetite, suffer from insomnia, are afraid to fall asleep because of recurring nightmares;
– they show an abnormal sexual interest: they address sexual subjects they should not know at their age, mimic sexual behavior, masturbate or mimic sex noises in public, make explicit drawings, increase seductive behavior;
– they are aggressive with those around them.
First of all, remain calm.
Believe the child, help him/her to express him/herself with their own words, without adding anything and without being overwhelmed by your concerns, your imagination and your knowledge of sexuality. Do not ask him/her to repeat themselves or tell you repeatedly what they experienced.
Quickly accompany him/her to the relevant departments (Police…) to be supported by trained professionals who will gather his/her testimony.
Let the legal professionals question the alleged abuser and conduct their investigations.
Be concerned about the welfare of the child and his/her protection without ever trying to bring about justice yourself.
If you have doubts, or if the child’s words are not clear, you could take him/her to consult a child therapist.
In any case, tell the child that he/she was right to talk to you, praise him/her for his/her courage and thank him/her for having trusted you.
A child may have been troubled by something they have experienced or seen or heard, and they may approach an adolescent or an adult to ask them questions, to touch them or to ask them if they will touch their private parts. This is never a request for sex, it is simply the expression of a need to know or to check what is allowed and what is not allowed. The adolescent or adult must always set limits, must always remember what is forbidden, and must protect children from what will hurt them.
Pedophiles are adolescent boys or girls or adult men or women who feel sexually attracted to prepubescent children (i.e. those who have not yet reached puberty).
Some pedophiles are attracted only to girls, others only to boys. Some are attracted to both, and some are equally attracted to children and teenagers or adults.
Pedophilia exists everywhere, all around the world and in all environments regardless of wealth, education or religion. Just because nobody talks about it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist!
No one chooses to be a pedophile, and the vast majority of pedophiles will never abuse a child.
No one is responsible for their fantasies, but everyone is responsible for their actions and their deeds. Also, any sexual act involving a child is forbidden: it is forbidden to tell children that you are in love with them, to make remarks of a suggestive nature to them, to show them a pornographic image or to show them your own sexual organs or ask to see theirs, to watch them undress, caress them, touch their private parts (pubic area, buttocks, chest), to put them on your knees when you have an erection, thereby imposing upon them your own sexual desire…
You can calmly talk to that person without judging them. Tell them what you saw and felt, and encourage them to go seek help from a competent specialist.
Feel free to talk about the PedoHelp® project.
If you need advice regarding assessments and orientation, and/or answers to your questions when you first meet a patient, you can contact any of our partners, listed by country.
In France: CRIAVS (Resource Centers for Professionals Working with Sexual Abusers) can give you information about sexual violence.
Sexual majority (the ability to consent to a sexual relationship with an adult as long as the adult doesn’t have an authority role over the minor) differs in each country.
In France, for example, it is reached at the age of 15.
Laws differ according to each country.
In France, any form of sexual abuse, with or without penetration, perpetrated upon a 15-year-old minor is characterized as sexual abuse (sometimes aggravated), including when the minor has expressed consent or has not expressed non-consent (article 222 and following from Penal Code).
Recording, broadcasting, transmitting or simply holding pornographic images of a minor constitutes an offense (article 227-23 of the Penal Code).
If an adult seduces a 15-year-old minor on the Internet, with sexual proposals, this constitutes an offense (article 227-22-1 of the Penal Code).
International Convention on the Rights of the Child
The International Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), is a treaty adopted by the Assembly General of the United Nations on 20 November 1989.
Excerpt: Article 34
States Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. For these purposes, States Parties shall in particular take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent:
(a) The inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity;
(b) The exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices;
(c) The exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials.
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