Preventing Sexual Violence
An Educational Toolkit for Health Care Professionals
WEB VERSION

Introduction
What Is Sexual Violence?
How Do I Prevent It?
Overview of Web version

Tools

Conclusion


Quick Reference Guide: Sample Questions and Anticipatory Guidance

All ages | Preschool | School Age | Adolescence | Sources

All Ages
FOCUS: Taking a social history; intimate partner violence

Sample Questions for Parents

  • Who lives with you and your child? Do you ever have trouble making ends meet? Is housing ever a problem for you? Do you feel safe in your neighborhood? Who helps you take care of your child? How would you describe your relationship with your own parents? How is your child doing in school/preschool? Do you or anyone else living with you have any problems with drugs or alcohol?
  • Children of all ages are affected by exposure to violence in the home. Some of the effects include stress, behavior problems, anger, fear, and the risk of learning that violence is a solution to problems. Because it can have such an effect on children, I ask all families periodically about violence at home. Do you always feel safe in your home? Have you ever been hit, kicked, or verbally threatened?
  • Has your child heard or seen adults in your home insulting, hitting, or hurting one another?

Anticipatory Guidance for Parents

  • Children of all ages can be affected by exposure to violent interactions in the home. This is often a difficult subject to discuss, but there are people who can help you. If you ever need to talk about this, I am available or you can call 800/799-SAFE (7233), which is the national domestic violence hotline.

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Preschool
FOCUS: Sexual abuse prevention; media use

Sample Questions for Parents

  • Besides you, who watches your child? How cautious is your child around strangers?
  • How much TV does your child watch each day?

Anticipatory Guidance for Parents

  • Explain to your child that certain parts of the body (those normally covered by a bathing suit) are private and should not be touched by others without her permission. Use correct terms for all body parts, including genitals.
  • Most sexual abusers are people the child is expected to trust. Teach your child rules for how to be safe with other adults—no adult should tell a child to keep secrets from parents; no adult should express interest in private parts; and no adult should ask a child for help with his or her own private parts.
  • Too much exposure to violence on TV can teach your child aggressive behavior, desensitize him to violence, and even make him fear the real world. Media can teach gender stereotypes and harmful attitudes about sexual activity. If your child does watch TV, try to watch TV with him from time to time and let him know how you feel. Ask questions like, “Is the fighting on TV the way we solve problems in our family?”

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School Age
FOCUS: Sexual abuse prevention; Internet safety; bullying

Sample Questions for Parents

  • Have you talked to your child about ways to avoid sexual abuse?
  • How much do you know about your child’s Internet use (what sites she’s visiting, what games she’s playing, who she’s talking to, and how much time she’s spending on the computer)? Do you have rules for the Internet? Have you installed an Internet filter?
  • Is your child picked on in school?

Sample Questions for Children

  • What are your “privates”? Why do we call them that?
  • What would you do if a grown-up made you scared? Who could you tell? Who would help you?
  • After the examination of the child’s genitals or when child is fully clothed: What would you do if someone else who wasn’t a doctor wanted to look at your privates? What would you say?
  • What would you do if you came to an Internet site that you thought wasn’t a good idea or that scared you?
  • Have you been in any pushing or shoving fights? What do you usually do to avoid getting into a fight? Are you afraid of being hurt by any other children? Do you feel bullied by other children? If you see other children in fights or being bullied, what do you do? Have you ever gotten in trouble at school for fighting?

Anticipatory Guidance for Parents

  • Teach your child that it is never all right for an adult to tell a child to keep secrets from parents, to express interest in private parts, or to ask a child for help with his or her private parts.
  • Your family computer should be in a place where you can easily observe your child’s use. Check the Internet history regularly to be sure you approve of your child’s Internet choices. Just as you monitor your child’s activity in the neighborhood and community, it is important to be aware of his Internet use. A safety filter allows some parental supervision.

Anticipatory Guidance for Children

  • We call the parts of your body that are usually under a bathing suit “privates” because we keep them covered and because you are the only one in charge of them. No one should ever look at your private parts, except a doctor or nurse, when your parent is there. No adult should ever ask you for help with his or her private parts.
  • It is never OK for an older child or an adult to show you his or her private parts, to ask you to show your privates, to touch you there, to scare you, or to ask you not to tell your parents about what he or she did with you. Always get away from the person as quickly as possible and tell your parent or another adult right away.
  • No adult should ever tell you to keep a secret from your parents.
  • It is important to only go online when your parents say it’s OK. And never go to Internet sites unless you know they are good choices.
  • Never chat online unless you tell your parents. No one should ever make you feel scared or bullied online.
  • Do not give your personal information (like your full name, address, or phone number) on a Web site unless your parents say it’s OK.
  • There are ways to avoid fights without being a victim. You should get help from an adult if you think a fight is about to start. It is OK to seek adult help if you or someone else feel threatened or are being bullied.
  • If you see someone being hurt or bullied, it is better to get adult help than to watch and do nothing.

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Adolescence
FOCUS: Sex and dating; dating violence; personal safety

Sample Questions for Parents

  • What are your rules about curfews, dating, and friends?
  • How do you plan to help your child deal with pressures to have sex?
  • Does your teen have a boyfriend or girlfriend? Is their relationship respectful toward each other?
  • Would your teen feel comfortable enough to tell you whether anyone has ever attempted to force sex with her or him?

Sample Questions for Youth
Note: Depending on the topic and the relationship between the provider and teen, it may be easier to broach the following questions by asking whether the patient’s friends have been in similar situations.

  • Have you talked with your parents about dating and sex?
  • How do you get along with members of your family? Do you feel safe at home?
  • Are you dating? How old is your partner? What do you like to do on dates? Do you ever argue on dates?
  • Are you ever jealous or suspicious of your partner’s friends? Do you ever try to limit whom your partner talks with or what your partner does? Have you ever hit, shoved, pushed, kicked, or otherwise hurt your date?
  • Is your partner ever jealous or suspicious of your friends? Does your partner ever try to limit whom you talk with or what you do? Have you ever been hit, shoved, pushed, kicked, or otherwise hurt by a date?
  • Have you had sex? Was it wanted or unwanted? Have you ever been forced or pressured to do something sexual that you haven’t wanted to do?
  • For sexually active teens: Do you use birth control? Who makes the decisions about using birth control, you or your partner? Have you ever had a sexually transmitted infection? Have you ever been pregnant/gotten your partner pregnant?
  • Whom do you go to for help if you’re having trouble in your relationship?

Anticipatory Guidance for Parents

  • Talk to your teen often, and clearly share your expectations and beliefs about sex and relationships. Be open and nonjudgmental, but honest, about your personal views.
  • Help your teen make a plan to resist pressures to use substances or have sex. Be there for him when he needs support or help.
  • Teenagers need opportunities to feel good about themselves, be successful, and feel connected. Would you like some help identifying potential groups or places for your teen to experience this?

Anticipatory Guidance for Youth

  • Figure out ways to make sure you can carry through on your decisions about your sexual limits. Plan how to avoid risky places and relationships. For example, don’t use drugs or alcohol because these can raise the risk of unwanted sex or other risky behaviors.
  • When dating or in any situations related to sexual behavior, remember that “No” means NO. Saying “No” is OK.
  • Dating can and should be fun for all involved parties. Healthy dating relationships are build on respect, concern, and doing things both of you like to do. No one should ever be forced by words or actions to do something they do not want to do. Creating fear in a partner causes loss of closeness, love, and respect.
  • Many teenagers have a lot of time on their hands. It really helps to have fun things to do. If you would like, I can help you think about what community activities might be fun for you.

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Sources