Community Education (Available in Spanish)
Our commitment to the safety of children extends beyond those served at the Will County CAC. We will provide a Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse presentation, highlighting the the signs and symptoms of child abuse to any school, daycare, after-school program, church, or child-serving organization. Let us help you train your staff on how to recognize and report child abuse! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request.
How To Protect Your Child
Take the time to talk to your child.
- Be calm and confident before discussing this topic with your child.
- Do not scare your child; your tone should be neutral, educational and empowering.
- Let your child know that you are always there for him/her and always want to protect him/her.
- Teach your child that the parts of their body that a bathing suit covers are private parts and that no one is allowed to see or touch them there.
- Allow time for your child to process and to ask you questions.
- Have your child identify 5 safe people they can talk to if someone ever makes them uncomfortable.
- Make talking to your child about personal safety an ongoing dialogue rather than a single conversation.
- It’s important not to interrogate children. Ask simple, open-ended questions in a calm manner: "Has anyone ever made you feel uncomfortable or scared? Has anyone ever asked you to keep a secret?"
Familiarize yourself with the policies and practices of organizations where your children spend time.
- Confirm background checks are conducted on all employees and volunteers.
- Ensure policies are in place that prohibit situations where an adult can be alone with your child in one room when no one else is around.
- Talk to your child to find out if the policies are being followed when you are not there.
- Require all staff and volunteers to be trained annually on child safety and on how to make a report.
Be vigilant and ASK questions!
- Watch for changes in your child’s behavior. If your child is reluctant to go certain places or to be with certain people, ask questions.
- Notice their behavior before and after spending time alone with an adult.
If a child does reveal something concerning, believe the child. Reassure him/her that he/she has done the right thing in telling you and that what happened is absolutely not their fault. Call the DCFS Child Abuse Hotline immediately: 1-800-25-ABUSE (1-800-252-2873), or dial 911.
DO NOT interview the child or contact the alleged offender — report your suspicions and let the appropriate authorities investigate.
Signs of Abuse
The following are signs commonly associated with abuse, but they are not absolutes. This list is not a checklist but a guide to help identify abuse when it is present.
- Frequent injuries that are unexplained and/or when the child or parent cannot adequately explain injury causes such as: bruises, cuts, black eyes, fractures, burns
- Burns or bruises in an unusual pattern that may indicate the use of an instrument
- Lack of reaction to pain
- Injuries that appear after the child has not been seen for several days
- Evidence of delayed or inappropriate treatment for injuries
- Injuries involving the face, backs of hands, buttocks, genital area, abdomen, back, or sides of the body
- Frequent complaints of pain without obvious injury
- Complaints of soreness or discomfort when moving
- Aggressive, disruptive, and destructive or self-destructive behavior
- Passive, withdrawn, emotionless behavior
- Fear of going home or seeing parents
- Torn, stained, or bloody underclothing
- Pain, swelling, or itching in genital area
- Difficulty walking or sitting
- Excessive seductiveness, inappropriate sex play, or premature understanding of sex
- Role reversal, overly concerned for siblings
- Significant weight change
- Suicide attempts (especially adolescents)
- Threatened by physical contact or closeness
- Extreme fear of being alone with adults, especially if of a particular gender
- Sudden refusal to change for gym or to participate in physical activities
- Sexual victimization of other children
- Major change in normal mood or behavior
- Obvious malnourishment or inadequate nutrition
- Lack of personal cleanliness
- Torn and/or dirty clothes
- Need for glasses, dental care, or other unattended medical attention
- Consistent hunger, stealing or begging for food
- Distended stomach, emaciated
- Lack of supervision for long periods of time
- Frequent absence or tardiness from school
- Regularly displays fatigue or listlessness or falls asleep in class
- Reports that no caretaker is at home
- Self-destructive behavior
- Extreme loneliness and need for affection
- Speech disorders
- Delayed physical development
- Substance abuse
- Ulcers, asthma, severe allergies
- Habit disorders (sucking, rocking, biting)
- Antisocial or destructive behaviors
- Delinquent behaviors (especially adolescents)
- Developmentally delayed
Help us continue to provide hope, healing & justice for abused children.
Last year, the Will County Children's Advocacy Center served more than 430 Will County children (and their non-offending family members) who were sexually abused, severely physically abused, or who had witnessed a violent crime.
Children who have been victimized and receive program services at the Will County CAC, are less likely to: abuse drugs or alcohol, grow up to become victims of domestic violence, become involved in some sort of criminal activity, suffer from depression, anxiety disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder, and/or develop suicidal ideation and self-harm.
Your financial gift can make a profound difference in changing a child’s life.