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When we know how abuse happens, we are more likely to see the signs of abuse and know how to respond. 

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Know. See. Respond.

  • We KNOW when we understand the common practices of those who harm and the best practices to stop them.

  • We SEE when we can recognize the warning signs or behaviors that signal abuse or risk for abuse.

  • We RESPOND when we take action in response to behaviors we recognize as being inappropriate or questionable


We can put these habits into practice in our homes, youth-serving organizations, and communities. They remind us of our responsibility to safety and what we can do as individuals to protect children from abuse.


KNOW how to recognize boundary violations and how offenders operate. It’s up to us as adults to do all we can to prevent child sexual abuse and create safe environments for children. Teaching children about their bodies, recognizing warning signs, and responding to any concerns are important first steps. Even very young children can learn some skills to help keep themselves safe from sexual abuse, but it’s up to parents to help them learn what they need to know. 


Keep your eyes and ears open for signs of abuse and talk with your child, asking them about your concerns. If something is wrong, you may see a sudden change in your child’s behavior, or you may hear unusual comments. If you see or hear these things, follow up. Find a relaxed time to talk with them.


If you see warning signs from your child or adult, or you hear about something that sounds like abuse, report it immediately.

If your child tells you about sexual abuse or inappropriate behavior, here’s how to react. Your response plays a big role in how your child understands abuse and how he/she recovers.

  1. Stay calm.

  2. Comfort your child.

  3. Listen carefully.

  4. Ask for examples.

  5. Do not threaten or criticize the person your child is accusing.


If what you learn from your child or if what you’ve observed or overheard at practice sounds like abuse, call Child Protective Services or the police. If what you learn from your child, or if what you’ve observed or overheard at practice, sounds like a boundary violation, suspicious or inappropriate behavior, or a policy violation in an organization, share your concerns with the individual employee, supervisor, or the person in charge of your organization. Be sure to follow up with both your child and the adult you’ve talked to.

Download the Know. See. Respond. Booklet, which includes 

activities to help you practice! 

Looking for resources or support?

Call 866.FOR.LIGHT or text LIGHT to 741741 to have questioned answered or chat

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