What is Sexual Abuse of a Child? Sexual abuse in the Texas Family Code is defined as any sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare as well as a failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct with a child.Methods for Increasing Awareness Regarding Sexual Abuse of Children
RadKIDS is a curriculum implemented in VISD at all elementary schools to strengthen healthy child development, empower students and reduce violence. It specifically addresses the topic of sexual abuse. All counselors receive training on sexual abuse and the process to report it. VISD counselors present the reporting process to teachers and staff and provide support.
District counseling staff will address issues to increase awareness regarding sexual abuse of children and anti-victimization programs with age appropriate conversation and materials. As a parent, it is important for you to be aware of warning signs that could indicate a child may have been or is being sexually abused. A child who has experienced sexual abuse should be encouraged to seek out a trusted adult.
Be aware as a parent or other trusted adult that disclosures of sexual abuse may be more indirect than disclosures of physical abuse, and it is important to be calm and comforting if your child, or another child, confides in you. Reassure the child that he or she did the right thing by telling you. If you permit your child to be in a situation where he or she may be injured, then you may be prosecuted for child abuse.
The fact that the abuser is a parent or other family member does not remove your obligation to protect the child. If you are frightened for your own safety or that of your child, call 911 or 1-800-252-5400. You are legally responsible for the care of your child. You must provide your child with safe and adequate food, clothing, shelter, protection, medical care and supervision, or else you must arrange for someone else to provide these things. Failure to do so may be considered neglect. As a parent, if your child is a victim of sexual abuse, the campus counselor or principal will provide information regarding counseling options for you and your child available in your area.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services also manage early intervention counseling programs. The Austin location may be contacted at 1-512-556-8269. Anyone who suspects that a child has been or may be abused or neglected has a legal responsibility, under state law, for reporting the suspected abuse or neglect to law enforcement or to Child Protective Services (CPS).
Reports may be made by contacting one of the following:
The following websites might help you become more aware of child sexual abuse: