Step 2: Minimize Opportunity

If You Eliminate or Reduce One-Adult/One-Child Situations, You’ll Dramatically Lower the Risk of Sexual Abuse for Children.

“An organization in my community has programs for children, but puts no limits on one-adult/one-child situations. Should I be concerned?”
More than 80% of sexual abuse cases occur in one-adult/one-child situations.

Reduce the Risk. Protect Children.

  • Understand that abusers often become friendly with potential victims and their families, enjoying family activities, earning trust, and gaining time alone with children.
  • Think carefully about the safety of any one-adult/one-child situations. Choose group situations when possible.
  • Think carefully about the safety of situations in which older youth have access to younger children. Make sure that multiple adults are present who can supervise.
  • Set an example by personally avoiding one-adult/one-child situations with children other than your own.
  • Monitor children’s Internet use. Offenders use the Internet to lure children into physical contact.

CREATE AND LOBBY FOR POLICIES reducing or eliminating one-adult/one-child situations in all youth-serving organizations, such as faith groups, sports teams, and school clubs. These policies should ensure that all activities can be interrupted and observed.

  • Talk with program administrators about the supervision of older youth who have responsibility for the care of children.
  • Insist on screenings that include criminal background checks, personal interviews, and professional recommendations for all adults who serve children. Avoid programs that do not use ALL of these methods.
  • Insist that youth-serving organizations train their staff and volunteers to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.
  • Ensure that youth-serving organizations have policies for dealing with suspicious situations and reports of abuse.

ONE-ON-ONE TIME with a trusted adult is healthy and valuable for a child. It builds self-esteem and deepens relationships. There are things you can do to protect children when you want them to have time alone with another adult.

  • Drop in unexpectedly when the child is alone with any adult, even trusted family members.
  • Make sure outings are observable, if not by you, then by others.
  • Ask the adult about the specifics of the planned activities before the child leaves your care. Notice the adult’s ability to be specific.
  • Talk with the child when he or she returns. Notice the child’s mood and whether the child can tell you with confidence how the time was spent.
  • Find a way to tell the adults who care for children that you and the child are educated about child sexual abuse. Be that direct.