The Body Rules

What children should know

Children should know that a person is breaking the body rules if that person:

Breaking the body rules is sexual abuse and is against the law. It is never okay and it is never the fault of the child.

Although most people do not break the body rules, there is no way to tell the difference between people that break the body rules and those that don’t. The person probably won’t look different from anybody else. The person can be someone the child knows or someone they don’t. The person can be someone the child likes or someone who is supposed to look after the child. The person can be a man or a woman. The person can be a friend of the family, a member of the family or anybody else.

Any child can be sexually abused. It does not matter how old or young the child is, whether the child is a boy or a girl, what cultural background the child has, whether the child has a disability or how many friends the child has.

Why this is an important part of child sexual abuse prevention

Perpetrators of child sexual abuse may attempt to make the child think that what is happening is normal; therefore children need to have a clear understanding of what constitutes child sexual abuse. They need to know that if this happens it is never okay, it is not their fault and that they should tell their trusted adults about what is happening to them.

Children are developmentally able to interpret rules as opposed to recognising feelings. Recognising feelings has been a feature of other protective behaviours programs and proven ineffective in cases where children can’t recognise or don’t have negative feelings in relation to the abuse.

Ideas for having conversations on this concept