Healthy Self Concept

What children should know

Children should know they have an important place in society and the world. In Australia, there are laws designed to protect children, and internationally the United Nations has a convention to protect the rights of all children. Children have the right to safety, body privacy and respect and should be protected from all types of abuse whether it be physical, emotional, sexual or neglect. It is okay for people to protect their rights. Children can turn to adults to help them protect their rights because it is an adult’s responsibility to protect the rights of children. Children are vulnerable to abuse because there is a necessary power imbalance between children and adults. Therefore, if an adult abuses this power imbalance, it is never the child’s fault.

Why this is an important part of child sexual abuse prevention

Children develop their self-concept through feedback from the world they are a part of. Their sense of self is connected to how worthwhile, valuable, accepted and connected they feel.

Children who have been sexually abused will commonly think the abuse is somehow their fault and are more likely to have low self-esteem, feel dislocated from friends and family and demonstrate a range of behaviours and attitudes that are a direct result of the abuse and how they have been valued.

Ideas for having conversations on this concept