How to Talk to Kids About Sexual Assault


Sadly, in this world, the sexual abuse of children can be quite prevalent. That’s why it’s a parent’s responsibility to talk to their child about this tough topic somewhat early on. It’s scary to think that perpetrators of this heinous crime may be in your midst, but you’ll truly never know every single person your child comes in contact with. For this reason, difficult conversations like this one are necessary. Equipping your child with the knowledge to stop or report sexual abuse can be an invaluable tool for their well-being.

Empower Them to Say “No”

Children can be scared to stand up to an adult and tell them “no.” Their entire lives, they’re taught to follow the instruction of grown-ups, and trust that they’re making the best decision possible. So, when it comes to learning about sexual assault, the lesson that it’s okay to say “no” to an adult goes completely against their existing knowledge.

As a parent, it’s up to you to distinguish when it’s okay for a child to say “no” to an adult. Explain that if they feel uncomfortable doing something, or if an adult wants to engage in behavior that feels wrong, it’s perfectly okay to say no and walk away.

Explain Private Body Parts

Explain to your child which body parts are private and should not be shared with other adults. This way they understand that certain types of touch are inappropriate.

You may have to make the distinction in certain situations, like how it’s okay when a parent is giving them a bath, or a doctor is giving them a check-up with a parent in the room. In other situations, they should know their private body parts should be covered, and others should not be exposing theirs. 

Talk About Secrets

In order to cover up their actions, many predators tell their victims to keep the abuse a secret. On top of that, the perpetrator may also tell the child that there will be serious consequences if they tell the secret to anyone else. Children usually trust the authority of adults, so this can be an impactful threat.

As a parent, tell your child that no one, not even other children, should ask them to keep a secret about their body. Make sure your child understands that even if they’re told they’ll get in trouble, it’s okay to tell a trusted grownup about something that makes them uncomfortable.

Explain Boundaries

In a very basic way, go over appropriate vs. inappropriate behavior. Explain that it’s not okay for adults to interact with children in certain ways, and that these boundaries should exist with their peers, too. Older children can perpetrate sexual abuse, so it’s important for kids to be aware of this. One of the main ways children understand this is through the concept of “personal space.”

This can be a very difficult conversation and may even have to be split up into numerous conversations over the course of time. But this information can empower children to understand and prevent abuse, a valuable lesson they’ll carry with them into adulthood. We hope this information gives you the motivation and foundation of knowledge to mention these concepts to your child.

Our law firm has handled hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits and settlements, so if you need to speak with professional legal counsel, please visit us at We can maintain your confidentiality and protect the privacy of your name and personal information.