Sample Sidebar Module

This is a sample module published to the sidebar_top position, using the -sidebar module class suffix. There is also a sidebar_bottom position below the menu.

HOME

PEOPLE

PLACES

MINISTRIES

VISITORS

RESOURCES

EVENTS

NEWS

Sample Sidebar Module

This is a sample module published to the sidebar_bottom position, using the -sidebar module class suffix. There is also a sidebar_top position below the search.
What is Peer-to-Peer Sexual Abuse?
  • Register

One type of abuse adults may not consider, or even realize exists, is peer-to peer abuse. According to the Culture of Safety website (COS), “Up to 40% of children who are sexually abused are abused by older or more powerful children. The younger the child victim, the more likelyit is that the perpetrator of the abuse is a juvenile. Praesidium, Inc., the developer of the Safeguarding God’s Children program, has stated that peer-to-peer abuse has gone up by 300% in the past several years. While that may seem alarming, children in today’s society are bombarded with sexual language, sexual activity in movies and television, and sexualized clothing. While there is a “normal” level of sexual curiosity in every child, some behavior may go beyond the norm and become abusive. Praesidium, Inc. is in the business of protecting children, and has done extensive research in the process of developing of their materials such as DVDs and online coursework. They employ attorneys, social workers, and psychologists who play a role in the development of materials and follow-up /customer relations.

The COS website states this reality can be hard to accept because we don’t want to think about children engaging in this type of child_fencebehavior. It can also be difficult to distinguish between abuse and normal sexual curiosity. The website describes sexual abuse between children as “when there is a significant age difference (usually 3 or more years) between the children, or if the children are very different developmentally or size-wise. Sexual abuse does not have to involve penetration, force, pain, or even touching. If an adult engages in any sexual behavior (looking, showing, or touching) with a child to meet the adult’s interest or sexual needs, it is sexual abuse.

The website goes on to describe why children may abuse other children. It is possible that the perpetrators of the abuse could be victims of abuse themselves, possibly by parents or caregivers. Children who are victims of abuse have three times as many sexual behavior problems as other children. Peer abuse must be taken very seriously as it may be an indicator of more serious abuse going on in the perpetrator’s life.

The diocesan Safeguarding God’s Children site has a specific course that addresses peer-to peer abuse, and what to do if you should encounter a situation between two or more children. The course is not required at this time, but is available for anyone wishing to take it. In order to take the course registration is required. Each registrant will have a personal login and password, which will be sent by the Safe Church Administrator, Deacon Nancy Igo, after she has received the registration form and has completed the process online.

The following are a few suggestions found within the Preventing Sexual Activity between Children course:

“All of the following environments are considered high-risk areas for children to engage in sexual behavior – in swimming pools or locker rooms, in the bathroom, on the playground, and during nap time, but sexual behavior is most likely to occur in the bathroom.

“If you discover children doing things that could lead to sexual behavior, like using inappropriate language or daring one another to touch or expose body parts, stop them immediately. Use a calm but firm voice tone, don’t scold or frighten them, and tell them they are not permitted to do such things at your program.

“Watch for children who use sexual language or gestures, bully or threaten other children, frequently break the rules, defy authority, or who are sneaky. Finally, look for older children who tend to play with younger children.

“Watch for children who use sexual language or gestures, bully or threaten other children, frequently break the rules, defy authority, or who are sneaky. Finally, look for older children who tend to play with younger children.”1

Children with disabilities or with physical impairments, or who are shy or isolated, may be more likely to be taken advantage of. And, children who are treated differently by staff—favored or teased, even in a friendly way—can be at greater risk. Also, children who have been victimized in the past are more likely to willingly participate in sexual misbehavior than those who have never been victimized.

children_bathroomThe bathroom is the most frequent place where sexual activity between children is likely to occur. The children who have been caught or victimized have described what they call the “bathroom game,” or when two or more children enter a bathroom stall together and participate in sexual activity and fondling. The rule of thumb for bathroom safety is NEVER send children to the bathroom in pairs. Instead, use the “Responsible Buddy System,” where you send two or three children, with one designated as the responsible buddy. The children stand outside the door while each child uses the bathroom one-at-a-time. The responsible buddy reports back if there were any problems. If adults accompany the children to the bathroom, adults should stand outside the door and pay attention. Sometimes just being there will discourage children from misbehaving the in the bathroom.

“The second most frequent area for sexual behavior between children is around swimming pools and locker rooms. Just like in bathrooms, children are partially undressed and adult supervision may be less. And, children of different ages may be present at the same time. A 12-year-old may be naked right next to a 7-year-old.“The playground is the third most frequent place for sexual activity to occur. Supervising children on the playground can present challenges because children move around quickly, alone and in groups, and it’s difficult to keep track of everyone all the time. Make sure to limit the play area to only those areas where you can see all the children all of the time, AND PAY ATTENTION!

naptime_proper

“Finally, naptime is the fourth most frequent place for sexual activity to occur. The best way to prevent sexual acting out between children is by monitoring them. Make it a practice to routinely and frequently scan those children in your care so you know where everyone is at all times. Start at one corner of the room and quickly work your way across. Kids act quickly so you must scan quickly. To reduce sexual acting out during naptime, do not let children share a sleeping mat or blanket. Arrange sleeping areas with as much space between each child as possible. Don’t let children nap in areas that can’t be easily seen and keep the room sufficiently lighted so that you can easily observe all children.

“What should you do if you witness sexual activity between children? Don’t keep your observations and actions to yourself—even if you think what the children were doing was “no big deal” or just “normal” sexual curiosity. Instead, immediately tell your supervisor, complete any required documentation, and parents must be informed the same day.” 2

Additional course are available on the diocesan Safeguarding page that may be utilized for training of parents, staff, teachers, and organization leadership. While they satisfy no requirement at this time, the courses contain valuable information to educate us in ways to protect our precious children. Please be aware that these courses may be required in the future in the Diocese of Northwest Texas.

For more information, visit the Culture of Safety website, or contact our Safe Church Administrator, Deacon Nancy Igo, at the Bishop’s Office by email at nigo@nwtdiocese.org, or by telephone at 806.763.1370.

  1. Taken from the Safeguarding course Preventing Sexual Activity Between Children
  2. Taken from the Safeguarding course Preventing Sexual Activity Between Children

Other Valuable Courses Available on the

Diocesan Safeguarding Website

bullying    Preventing Bullying

social-media-safety    Social Media Safety

duty-to-report    Duty to Report: Mandated Reporter Requirements and Best Practices

keeping-camp-safe    Keeping Your Camp Safe

keeping-school-safe    Keeping Your School Safe

NWT Diocese Menu

HOME

PEOPLE

PLACES

MINISTRIES

VISITORS

RESOURCES

EVENTS

NEWS