Learn The Signs

learn-the-signs-coverTo help keep children and youth safe, it is important for parents and other trusted adults to talk with them about how young people can protect themselves. The USCCB Office of Child and Youth Protection offers suggestions on how to approach this topic with children and youth, which includes helping young people recognize abuse or grooming behavior, keeping communications between parents and children and youth open and honest, and assuring young people of God’s love for them.

Knowing some of the common warning signs indicating that an adult may present a risk of abusing a child or youth can help parents and others to prevent abuse from occurring.

Some of those warning signs are:

  • An adult who prefers the company of children or youth to adults.
  • An adult who finds ways to be alone with children or youth.
  • An adult who discourages other adults from participating in or monitoring their activities with children or youth.
  • An adult who gives inappropriate or frequent gifts to a particular child or youth.
  • An adult who wants to wrestle or tickle children or youth.
  • Ad adult who allows children or youth in engage in activities their parents would not allow.
  • An adult who uses bad language or tells dirty jokes to children or youth.
  • An adult who shows children or youth pornography.

More Resources for Protecting Children and Youth

VIRTUS Online offers tools for parents and other trusted adults to help safeguard children and youth from those who might harm them and give children the tools to better protect themselves, including telling young people it’s okay to say no when something is making them uncomfortable. The concise tip sheet, Practical Advice for Parents on Preventing Child Sexual Abuse, is downloadable so you can print and share this resource.

Any adult interested in learning more about protecting children and youth can sign up for a VIRTUS: Protecting God’s Children live three hour training session. Visit VIRTUS Online to view the schedule for upcoming trainings. This training is required for people in certain roles.

If you have questions or want to learn more about identifying common warning signs and ways to help protect children and youth, contact the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth at (651) 291-4501.