SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Parents got a lesson Thursday night in child sexual abuse prevention. Baystate Children’s Hospital is hosting a series of guided discussions to teach parents to work with their children from an early age to have them recognize inappropriate behavior.
They gave them a children’s book entitled, “My Body Belongs to Me.” It’s about a young boy who’s touched and how he and his family deal with it.
Dr. Stephen Boos of Baystate Children’s Hospital told 22News, “If need be, the children have the personal strength, the relationship with their parents, and the words to tell if something’s amiss.”
The book’s central message is: “If someone touches you, tell.”
The Family Advocacy Center will host two more of these “parent cafes” in Springfield later this month:
- April 20th – Square One, 1095 Main St., Springfield, 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM
- April 28th – HCS Head Start, 206 Maple St., Holyoke, 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM
The Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime offers the following strategies on how to respond if a child tells you that he or she has been abused:
- Stay calm.
- Listen to the child’s words and expressed emotions. Believe the child and stress that his or her safety is important.
- Don’t press the child for more information.
- Reassure the child that he or she has done nothing wrong. Abuse in never a child’s fault. Remember that the people who harm children are often people who children love.
- Avoid negative comments. Encourage the child, saying that he or she did the right thing by telling and that it was brave to tell.
If you suspect that a child is being abused, call the Department of Children and Families hotline at 1-800-792-5200. Other help is available by calling the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453), or Stop it Now! at 1-888-PREVENT (1-888-773-8368).
To make an appointment for therapy services at the Family Advocacy Center at Baystate Children’s Hospital, call 413-794-5555. For other services or information on the Family Advocacy Center, call 413-794-9816.