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Not all playing between children is considered harmful. However, when a child does not know the difference between harmful behavior and curiosity, or when there is a lack of awareness and unanswered questions on the subject, the game can become harmful.

It is recommended to review the 6 ironclad rules of safety with children:

No touching each other in private places! (not even as a joke)”

Do not expose your body during play!

No one (whether a child or an adult) should ask you to expose yourself!

Every touch must receive consent! (even a touch from a family member) Confused?! That’s okay! Mom and Dad are always here for you!

If someone asks for something related to private areas, refuse immediately and quickly tell your parents!

Statistically, the rates of victimization are the same (50% boys, 50% girls), meaning that according to studies, boys and girls are equally affected. However, there is a chance that boys are less likely to report such cases compared to girls because victimization is perceived by boys as something that may harm their gender image.

No! There is not always a duty to report, so it is important to consult with professionals. In every local authority in the social services department, there is a social worker in charge of the Youth Law, and you can turn to them for initial clarification. You can also contact assistance centers for advice to determine whether there is an obligation to report in a specific case or not.

Here are the main guidelines that require reporting according to the law:

  • When it comes to a family member (the law specifies which) within an educational or learning framework, and when the proximity is based on authority, meaning when the perpetrator is responsible for the child.
  • There are situations in which there is no obligation to report, for example, in a case of abuse by a stranger to a child, so it is always recommended to consult with a professional organization. Here are contact details for two such organizations: “Mivtach” – 02-5770756 “Magen” – 025000497

The percentages of harm in the Haredi community are unknown. Studies that have examined similar populations indicate that the percentages of harm in the Haredi sector are similar to those in the general society and may even be higher since there is a phenomenon of “underreporting” and the exact number cannot be determined.

First of all, the answer is yes, primarily through proper mediation of the situation. In the therapeutic process, the gap between the child’s perception and his or her level of understanding and the adult’s point of view (between what happened and what he or she thinks) is narrowed. Secondly, a protection plan is developed in cooperation with the parents in order to prevent recurring events in the future and provide the child with knowledge that will help him or her identify signs of harm in the future and take the right steps.

Harms within the family are a complex issue both on a personal and legal level, and therefore must be approached in a professional manner and not by any unqualified person.
It is important to know that in certain cases, and according to the decision of the Youth Law Committee in the local authority, it is possible to approach the exemption committee through which those involved in the incident can be directed for treatment without a criminal process.

Most harms can be prevented through healthy discussions about safety. According to studies, about 80% of all harms occur in the child’s natural environment, by a close person and based on personal acquaintance.
In order to reduce the chances of harm to your child, it is recommended to develop a personal relationship with the children and to get them used to speaking in appropriate language according to a model called “pleasant and safe.”
The model speaks in a language that mediates a situation to the child in the following way: Safe/unsafe Pleasant/unpleasant
The main goal of the model is to enable you, the parents, to understand: How harm looks in children from the child’s perspective! Through proper mediation, the model will help the child: Understand the situation Recognize when it is problematic Know to come and share with the parents.”

Let’s explain and demonstrate:
Imagine your child is at home, celebrating a family birthday party. The atmosphere is safe, the situation is pleasant, and your child’s emotions are positive – they feel happy and secure!
Now, contrast that with a situation where your child is at the dentist’s office. The place is safe, but the situation is uncomfortable, and your child’s emotions are negative – they feel scared and uneasy, but still secure.
Finally, let’s say your child is walking home from school and encounters a threatening dog. The place is not safe, the situation is unpleasant, and your child’s emotions are negative – they feel fear and anxiety. They feel very uncomfortable and insecure.
Most children will understand that they are in danger and will quickly return home in such situations.
However, there is a problematic scenario where a situation that seems “safe” can still be harmful to your child. This is where the concept of “harm” comes into play.
⚠️ This is where our services come in – we ensure that your child is always in a safe and positive environment, free from harm and discomfort. With our expert team and comprehensive safety measures, you can trust us to provide a secure and enjoyable experience for your child. ⚠️

Reminding you that: most incidents occur by someone close to the child and not in a threatening or scary manner. The situation can be pleasant for the child, he will receive sweets and feel comfortable…but, if he understands and speaks the language of “pleasant and safe”, his sensors will signal to him that something is not right and he needs to be careful. And he will know how to say: Dad, Mom, I don’t feel safe!
And of course, to repeat with them again and again the 6 ironclad rules for protection:
1. Do not touch each other in private places! (not even as a joke)
2. Do not expose your body during playtime!
3. No one (whether a child or an adult) should ask you to expose yourself!
4. Every touch must receive consent! (even a touch from a family member)
5. Confused?! Not a problem! Dad and Mom are always here for you!
6. If someone asks for something related to private places, refuse immediately and come quickly to tell your parents!”

Both women and men can fall into the definition of “perpetrators” (in recent years, there has been an increase in the exposure of female perpetrators).
There are three categories of “perpetrators”:
1. “Groomer” – about 80% of all victimizations occur through the use of grooming. The perpetrator slowly builds an emotional connection with the victim without violence, supposedly from a place of love and concern. In children and adolescents, this can stem from curiosity or exposure to unhealthy situations that lead them to investigate the subject on their own.
2. “Authority Figure Abuser” – about 15% of all victimizations belong to this category. In most cases, victimization occurs without physical violence or aggression but rather through emotional manipulation and threats while exploiting the authority figure.
3. “Sadistic Rage Outburst” – about 5% of victimizations are a tragic result of violent and painful abuse.

The main cause of the abuse by the perpetrators is distorted thinking and a violation of personal boundaries. When it comes to children, this often arises from curiosity and is mainly expressed in “exploration” in a close environment such as siblings or friends. Children who have been exposed to abuse themselves or through friends and adults who, together with the pressures and distortions of thinking, are exposed to abusive content on social networks, may harm their environment as they have lost their internal self-criticism mechanism.

When there is a significant change in a child’s behavior, it is worth trying to pinpoint the specific time when the change began. Usually, the change will be expressed through one of three possible types of symptoms: emotional symptoms (depression, fear, a need for control and isolation, etc.), physical symptoms (headaches, bedwetting, inflammation, poor personal hygiene, etc.), and behavioral symptoms (sleep difficulties, reluctance to be touched, developmental delays, etc.). It is important to emphasize that these are only signs and not a definite diagnosis, and there are many optional causes for these phenomena. Therefore, it is recommended to seek help from a professional.

 First of all, simply be there! Listen, say, ask, and explain.
Listen to the story the child is telling. “Listen and listen and listen” and then ask the child: “Maybe you have something else to tell me?”
Empathize and accept the child’s feelings. Say “I’m sorry this happened to you, but it’s good that you told me” to express full trust in the story. Even if the story is not accurate, we learn about the child’s trauma through it. It is important to emphasize that the child is not to blame and to calm him down as parents, we will try to be there for him and protect him.
Ask “What do you want us to do now?” / “Tell me what happened? / What’s bothering you? / How do you feel?” / “Tell me more about the event….” It is recommended to ask open-ended questions and not closed questions. Open-ended questions make the child talk and not settle for a yes/no answer. This stage allows for a “brainstorming session” on various possibilities for getting help and even finding an adult in the child’s environment who he feels safe to rely on and get help from if necessary.
Explain Privacy and confidentiality are very important for a child, like for an adult. Do not promise privacy! If the child asks for privacy, tell them: “It will stay between us unless I feel you are in danger and then I will need to tell a professional in order for us to get help. Of course, I will try to tell you before and maybe also share anonymously but remember – this help is for you and for your benefit!” Practice with the child standing on principles and assertive refusal to any close or stranger!
And of course, turn to a professional as soon as possible in order to receive counselling and guidance as needed.

The feeling of guilt in such a case is an integral part of the injury. Every parent wants to fulfill their parenting role and keep their child safe from harm. When an injury is discovered, difficult feelings of distress, helplessness, and self-blame arise because we feel that we failed to create a safe environment for the child (it usually comes as a “package deal” – discovery and guilt). It is important to emphasize that this is not necessarily related to your parenting as parents!
Unfortunately, there are many parents who cope with the crisis through denial, as they are unable to contain the difficulty, and they see the injury as a “stigma” on their parenting. The opposite is true! If a child comes and shares such an experience with the parents, it means that the child sees them as authoritative and supportive figures, feels secure enough to ask for help, and knows that the parents are there for them. With professional assistance, the child can continue to progress in their life and heal the pain. On the other hand, some children do not come to talk to their parents because they are afraid of their reaction, so if you have managed to bring your child to a place where they feel comfortable sharing such a situation with you, you should definitely be commended for being a great and caring parent.

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