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Reference Sheet

Child Sexual Abuse Prevention

The Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Reference Sheet is a single-page printout with useful, concise, research-based information.

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Contact your local law enforcement for emergencies.

Call or text 1.800.4.A.CHILD (1.800.422.4453).

Professional crisis counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in over 170 languages. All calls are confidential. Offers crisis intervention, information, and referrals to emergency, social service, and support resources.

Call your local Child Welfare agency

Visit for a listing of phone numbers by state to call and report child abuse.

Learning More

National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC)

The leading nonprofit in providing information and tools to prevent and respond to sexual violence.

Darkness to Light

Empowering adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse through awareness, education, and stigma reduction.

Parenting Safe Children

Educating parents and youth professionals on how to make their communities “off limits” to child sexual assault.

The Mama Bear Effect

A nonprofit organization changing the way people think, talk, and respond to child sexual abuse. Provides accessible and engaging prevention material.

Sex Positive Families

Provides education and resources that help families raise sexually healthy children.


An estimated:

  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men suffer sexual abuse before the age of 18. Of those, 1 in 3 suffers abuse before the age of 12.

  • 3 in 10 perpetrators are family members, 6 in 10 are acquaintances, and just 1 in 10 are strangers.

  • Only 4% to 8% of child sexual abuse reports are made-up, usually by adults in custody disputes.

Body Safety Rules

I am the boss of my body. I don’t have to give or receive hugs, kisses, tickles, or other touches if I don’t want to.

I know where private parts are on the body and their proper names. I know we don’t touch, play, or look at each other’s private parts.

I don’t keep secrets, not even fun ones like getting an extra cookie or staying up late. I especially don’t keep secrets about touching or private parts.

I get to have privacy when bathing, changing, or using the bathroom.

If someone breaks a body safety rule, I have a Safety Circle of adults that I can tell who will believe me and act.


The only exceptions to my Body Safety Rules are health and safety–like getting sunscreen put on or a doctor examining me. But if anyone makes me feel uncomfortable, even if they tell me it’s for health or safety, I will tell someone in my Safety Circle.

Signs of Grooming

A person grooming a child may

  • Find ways to spend time alone with a child, like too-good-to-be-true offers to babysit.

  • Be a child’s friend and confidante by filling an emotional need, often excluding others.

  • Regularly give gifts outside of usual gift-giving occasions.

  • Ask the child to keep innocent-seeming secrets that may escalate over time.

  • Touch the child excessively or touch the child’s private parts accidentally, like during tickling or roughhousing.

  • Normalize sexual behavior, like making sexual comments to or about a child or leaving sexual imagery out.


Some signs of grooming may look like behaviors of safe adults who care about a child. However, if you see a combination of these signs or have a gut feeling that something is not right, act.

Signs of Child Sexual Abuse

Behavioral Signs

Increased fear, anxiety, or depression; acting-out without a clear cause; changing eating habits; nightmares; behavioral regressions like thumb sucking or bed-wetting; refusing to visit particular people.

Sexual Signs

Sexualized play with dolls; advanced knowledge of sexual acts and language; sexualized play with other children; drawing sexual acts; excessive masturbation; and new words for genitals.

Physical Signs

Unexplained stomach aches and headaches; and evidence of self-harm; (less common) bruising, bleeding, redness, and bumps around the mouth, genitals, or anus; urinary tract infections; sexually transmitted diseases; and abnormal discharge.




"Child Sexual Abuse Statistics: Reporting Abuse | Darkness to Light." Accessed November 10, 2021. accessed 11/10/21

“Children and Teens: Statistics | RAINN.” Accessed October 22, 2021.


Finkelhor, D., Hotaling, G., Lewis, I. A., & Smith, C. (1990). Sexual abuse in a national survey of adult men and women: Prevalence, characteristics, and risk factors. Child Abuse & Neglect, 14, 19-28.


Pereda, Noemí, et al. "The international epidemiology of child sexual abuse: A continuation of Finkelhor (1994)." Child abuse & neglect 33.6 (2009): 331-342.


“The Criminal Justice System: Statistics | RAINN.” Accessed October 26, 2021.

Body Safety Rules


“Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse | RAINN.” Accessed October 27, 2021.

Honig, Alice Sterling. “Psychosexual Development in Infants and Young Children: Implications for Caregivers.” Young Children, July 1999.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network. (2010). It’s never your fault: The truth about sexual abuse. Los Angeles, CA, & Durham, NC: National Center for Child Traumatic Stress.

Sandy K. Wurtele and Maureen C. Kenny. “Normative Sexuality Development in Childhood: Implications for Developmental Guidance and Prevention of Childhood Sexual Abuse.” Counseling and Human Development 43, no. 9 (May 2011).

"What You Should Know About Child Abuse: (For Children Ages 6–11) | National Center for Victims of Crime." Accessed October 27, 2021.

Signs of Grooming


Budin, Lee Eric, and Charles Felzen Johnson. “Sex Abuse Prevention Programs: Offenders’ Attitudes about Their Efficacy.” Child Abuse & Neglect 13, no. 1 (January 1989): 77–87.

Elliott, Michele, Kevin Browne, and Jennifer Kilcoyne. “Child Sexual Abuse Prevention: What Offenders Tell Us.” Child Abuse & Neglect 19, no. 5 (May 1995): 579–94.

Craven, Samantha, Sarah Brown, and Elizabeth Gilchrist. “Sexual Grooming of Children: Review of Literature and Theoretical Considerations.” Journal of Sexual Aggression 12, no. 3 (November 2006): 287–99.

Mcalinden, Anne-Marie. “‘Setting ’Em Up’: Personal, Familial and Institutional Grooming in the Sexual Abuse of Children.” Social & Legal Studies 15, no. 3 (September 2006): 339–62.

Signs of Child Sexual Abuse


“ACF Hotlines and Helplines.” Accessed October 27, 2021.


Darkness to Light. “Identifying Child Sexual Abuse.” Accessed October 25, 2021.

Jensen, Tine K. "The interpretation of signs of child sexual abuse." Culture & Psychology 11.4 (2005): 469-498.


“Tip Sheet: Warning Signs of Possible Sexual Abuse In A Child’s Behaviors | Stop It Now.” Accessed October 25, 2021.


“Warning Signs for Young Children | RAINN.” Accessed October 25, 2021.

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