Create a family safety plan to protect children

If you want to keep your child safe from sexual abuse, making a family safety plan can help.

It is important to know what is meant by a risk factor and what risk factors might look like. A risk factor is something that puts someone at risk of sexually abusing a child. It could be something like being in close proximity to a child or a child not being supervised.

There are also things that protect children - and it's important to think about the things a family can do to keep everyone safer. Examples include good communication within the family, supportive relationships and appropriate rules and boundaries. These are the building blocks of your family and provide a good foundation for developing an effective family safety plan. You can download a booklet to help you with creating a family safety plan which is also available in Welsh.

It's important to get help if you suspect something is wrong, rather than waiting for evidence of harm.


The more difficult we make it for people who abuse to come between children and those who care for them, the better protected children will be.

That’s why a family safety plan is a good idea.

The first step to tackling the silence and secrecy that surrounds abuse is to develop an open and trusting relationship with our children, where things that are good and bad can be talked about. This means listening carefully to their fears and concerns, and letting them know they shouldn’t worry about telling us anything.

It’s also important to talk with them, in age appropriate ways, about relationships and sex, and to be comfortable using the words they may need. There are some great tips on this website, including the brilliant Pantosaurus resources from the NSPCC, for use by parents with younger children.

Teach them when it’s OK to say no, for example when they don’t want to play, or be tickled, or hugged or kissed.

Help them to understand what is acceptable behaviour, and that they can always tell us if someone is behaving in a way which worries them, even if they were unable to say “no” at the time.

Make sure that all family members have rights to privacy when dressing, bathing, sleeping and other personal activities. Even young children should be listened to and their preferences respected.

Find out as much as you can about babysitters, and don’t leave children with anyone you have any reservations about. If a child is unhappy about being looked after by a particular person, talk to the child about the reasons for this.

These are practical steps parents and carers can take to help protect their children.

But how do we start these sometimes difficult conversations with our children? There isn’t a one-size fits all approach, but there are some great tips on this website that you can use, and speak to other parents about ideas that have worked for them. 

These SMART rules can be a good starting point for important conversations:

Here are some things that you and your family can do to protect children from sexual abuse:

Know the signs

Open lines of communication

,h3. Educate everyone in the family

Set clear family boundaries

Get safe adults involved

Take sensible precautions with who has access to your children

Know your local resources and how to access them

Seek help and advice - you are not alone

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If you want to know more how to prevent child sexual abuse, you can watch the rest of our short films.

If you're worried about how an adult or young person you know behaves around children, you can get confidential support from the Stop It Now! helpline: 0808 1000 900. If you’re not ready to speak to someone yet, you can use our live chat or send a secure message.

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