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Safety Tips

Preventing crime and maintaining safe communities is everyone's responsibility. By practising the following personal and property safety tips, you can help reduce the incidents of crime and keep your community safe.


Sexual Abuse of Children

Sexual abuse is the misuse of power by someone who manipulates, tricks, forces or coerces a child into sexual contact. Children who have been sexually abused may be too afraid or ashamed to tell anyone, therefore it is important that adults know the physical and behavioural signs that could indicate that a child has been sexually abused.

Warning signs in children:
  • Changes in behaviour and a loss of appetite,
  • Frequent nightmares, fear of the dark or bedwetting
  • Torn or stained underclothing,
  • Vaginal or rectal bleeding, vaginal discharge, itching, pain or swollen genitals,
  • Has difficulty walking or sitting
  • Suddenly refuses to change for gym or to participate in physical activities
  • Demonstrates bizarre, sophisticated, or unusual sexual knowledge or behaviour
  • Becomes pregnant or contracts a venereal disease, particularly if under age 14
  • Runs away
  • Reports sexual abuse by a parent or another adult caregiver
  • Fear of being alone or left with someone,
  • Aggressive behaviour and/or difficulty in school.
Preventive Measures
Certain measures can be taken to reduce the odds of your child experiencing sexual abuse trauma:
  • Create an atmosphere in which your child feels free to talk about any problems he/she may have.
  • Explain to your child that his/her body belongs to the child alone, and no one has the right to touch inappropriately, even if it is a known adult or another family member. Try to make clear the difference between abusive touching and acceptable demonstrations of affection by family or friends.
  • Assure your child that you want to know if someone tries to touch him or her, whether it be a stranger or someone in the family. Be sure the child knows that you are on their side.
  • Encourage your child to talk about times spent alone with a babysitter, family members or friends,
  • Instruct your child on safety in public areas and encourage him or her to travel with a friend or chaperon in places such as woods, parking lots and public restrooms.
Child Pornography
In some instances, sexual abuse is videotaped for pornographic distribution. Advise your child that anyone who tries to take his/her picture, with or without clothes on, should be reported to you immediately. As a parent you have a right and responsibility to know who is photographing your child and for what purposes.

View the DRPS "Internet Safety Video" here

Any suspicious behaviour or actual incidents of sexual abuse should be reported immediately. This is one of the most important steps to be taken in the event your child is sexually abused. It could prevent what happened to your child from happening to someone else. Reporting the abuser can also contribute to the victim better understanding that the abuser was guilty of a crime rather than the child feeling responsible and internalizing guilt and/or shame.

If you suspect that a child has been abused, contact the Children's Aid Society of Durham Region at (905) 433-1551 or the Durham Regional Police Service at (905) 579-1520.

Children's Aid Society (CAS) workers have the responsibility and the authority to investigate allegations and to provide services to protect children. A Children's Aid Society worker may, as part of the investigation and plan to protect the child, involve the police and other community agencies.

The Durham Regional Police Service’s Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit investigates crimes against children.

From: Child Safety Handbook published by the Durham Regional Police Association