The last thing that you want to worry about when you send your child to a daycare facility is sexual abuse. Unfortunately, this is a real possibility. Here, I will discuss some good practices that you can follow so that you can avoid a sexual incident at a daycare. If a sexual incident has already occurred, you need to confirm it and take action. I will also talk about how you can identify sexual abuse in the daycare, and the next steps that you need to take to protect your child.
Preventing Sexual Abuse
Daycare facilities are relatively safe for children, especially when it comes to sexual abuse. But issues do occur, and you want to prevent those at all costs. Here are a few ways that you can find the right daycare for your child.
- Interview the daycare centers before you make a final decision. Talk to the people who will actually be in charge of taking care of your child and ask any questions that you have.
- It can be helpful to find a daycare based on a suggestion. If you have a trusted friend or family member who can vouch for a facility, chances are that is a good place to send your child.
- Make sure that the daycare has an open-door policy. You should be able to drop by unexpected if you need or want to without having to make an appointment.
- Make sure that you have access to all parts of the facility that your child does. There should be no off limits section of the daycare center that children can go to but parents cannot attend.
- Consider the daycare center’s standing in the community. Ask parents of children who attend the daycare how they like it.
- Make sure daycare employees are trained and know how to properly deal with children.
Recognizing Sexual Abuse
If you find yourself suspecting that sexual abuse has taken place in the daycare center, you should start watching out for any odd behavior in your child. Behavioral changes due to sexual abuse might include:
- Mood swings.
- Regressing to behaviors that the child has grown out of, ex. bed wetting, thumb sucking, etc.
- Having an unusual interest in sex.
- Acting out in sexually abusive ways.
- Fear of going to the daycare center or some other change in attitude towards the daycare.
- Fear of certain daycare center employees.
- Loss of appetite, inability to sleep, nightmares.
Of course, if you notice any sexual related injuries, you might strongly suspect sexual abuse. For example, trauma to your child’s genitals, bleeding from the genitals, or other issues.
If you suspect sexual abuse, you should take a few steps as soon as possible. First, you should take your child to a doctor and have their injuries checked by a professional. Taking your child to a therapist can also help them express what happened to them and work through this issue.
You should also report abuse as soon as you find out. If a daycare employee sexually abused your child, they may also be endangering other children that attend the daycare. This needs to stop as soon as possible.
You also need to contact the police and inform them of this problem. Sexual assault, especially of a minor, is a serious crime. You might also consider filing a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator in order to get compensation for your family.