Below are some safety tips for grown-ups and children that address the
issues of safety at home, gun safety, sexual assault, abduction and
child abuse. Our hope is that you will share them with your family so
that together we can make Memphis a safer place for everyone.
Many kids get home before
their parents. If you come home before your mom or dad, make sure the
first thing you do is call and let your mom or dad know you got home
If you come home and a
window in your house is broken or a door is open that shouldn't be,
don't go in. Go to a trusted neighbor, or find a phone and call 911.
If you have to stay after
school or want to play or study with a friend, tell your mom or dad.
Don't leave your home
without asking your mom or dad first. Make sure a parent knows where you
are going and for how long. Always tell your mom or dad where you will
be and when you will be home.
When your family is home
and the doorbell rings, always find out who it is and ask your mom or
dad before you open the door.
If you are home alone,
never open the door -- unless you can see that it is a relative or a
specific person who your mom or dad said would come over to stay with
tell someone you are home alone, whether they call on the phone or come
by your house. Ask your mom or dad what they would like you to say,
like: "My Dad's in the shower, can he call you when he gets out?"
give information to anyone over the phone about yourself, your family or
where you live. Hang up on anyone who calls to bother you or who says
bad things on the phone.
Ask your mom or dad for
permission to go outside of your play area or yard or to go into
If you have a babysitter
that hits you, touches you or makes you play games that embarrass you,
tell a trusted adult, even if the babysitter told you not to.
Keep all the windows and
doors in your home locked.
If someone tries to break
into your home, call 911 immediately and give them your
full address, including your apartment number if you have one. Tell them
that you are at home and someone is trying to break in. Then, try
calling a neighbor you know is usually home. If you can get out of the
house, get out. If you can hide, hide.
If someone picks on you or
threatens you, tell your parent or a trusted adult. You don't have to
deal with this by yourself.
If you get into an
argument, don't let it grow into a fight. Cool off . . . walk away if
that would help.
Don't carry a weapon. You
could hurt or kill someone or yourself without meaning to. The weapon
could also end up being used against you. Some kids say they carry a gun
or knife for protection, but the truth is if you carry a weapon you are
more likely to get hurt.
If you find a gun
anywhere, DON'T TOUCH IT. The gun could be loaded and dangerous. It
could also be a gun that the police are looking for because it was used
in a crime. Tell your mom or dad or a trusted adult or call 911 to tell
the police you found a gun.
If someone shows you a
gun, DO NOT TOUCH IT. Guns are not toys. They can kill someone or hurt
them very badly. Kids have been accidentally killed by guns, sometimes
by their best friends.
Tell the person that you
don't want to be around guns because someone could get hurt or killed.
Get away from the gun and the person.
Tell a trusted adult about
the gun. It's okay to tell about guns. You could help stop the person
with the gun from getting hurt.
If you hear gunfire, duck.
Get down as low as you can and cover your head.
Your Body Belongs
grown-ups are nice to kids and care about what happens to them. But
every now and then there are grown-ups who try to touch a child in a way
that is not okay. It might be a person you know and trust, like a
relative, teacher or neighbor.
If you need additional information please contact the Juvenile
Abuse Squad at 901-545-5330.
There are a few things
you should know that can help if this ever happens to you:
Your body belongs to you.
No one has the right to
touch you, if you don't want them to. That includes teachers,
grandparents, uncles and aunts, mom, dad -- everyone!
There are places on your
body that are private -- like places your swimming suit covers -- that
an adult should not try to touch, unless it's the doctor and your parent
or guardian is in the room with you.
Trust your feelings. If
something feels funny or wrong to you, YOU CAN SAY NO. It is good to say
no to an adult who tries to do something that is wrong.
Tell someone you trust
what happened, even if the person said it was a secret or that they
would hurt you or someone else if you told.
If someone does something
to you that is wrong, they may tell you it is a special secret or make
you promise not to tell. TELL! It is absolutely okay to
break this kind of promise -- the person who made you promise knows that
they are doing something very wrong.
Keep telling until someone
listens. Some adults do not know what to do when a young person tells
them about sexual abuse. An adult may tell you not to talk about it or
to forget it. They may even accuse you of making up stories. Don't give
up. Find someone to tell who will help. The adult who gave you this
paper cares about you. She or he might be a good person for you to talk
Remember, adults and older kids should:
ask you to keep a secret about touching.
touch you anywhere that is
private, like where your bathing suit covers you.
ask you to touch them anywhere private.
reach under your clothes or try to get you to take off your clothes.
ask you to take off their clothes.
ask you to keep a secret about something wrong.
try to take pictures of you without your clothes.
ask you to touch yourself or other kids anywhere private.
Don't play in deserted
areas -- such as empty playgrounds, parks, construction sites or dumps.
Stay with your mom or dad
in public places or use the buddy system. Play, walk, bike and skate
with a friend.
If you are out somewhere
with an adult and you lose them, don't go looking for them. If you are
in a store, go to the cashier or security guard and ask for help. If you
can't find a cashier or security guard and you are in trouble, look for
a woman with small children for help.
Stay alert and trust your
instincts. If something doesn't feel right, like you think someone is
following you, you are probably right. Try to notice if an adult is
hanging around your school playground, your park or yard, and then go to
where you know you can find other people.
If you think someone is
following you, cross the street and go into a store. Tell a police
officer or a mother with a child. Don't try to hide -- go to where you
know you can find other people.
If someone tries to grab
you, kick, punch and yell: "NO! I don't know you! You aren't my Mom (or
If the person is in a car,
stay as far away from the car as you can. Go into a store or turn
around, and walk or run in the opposite direction the car is going.
ever hitchhike or accept a ride from someone. Don't go near a stranger's
car. NEVER get into a car with someone you don't know,
for any reason. Sometimes people use tricks -- like saying your mom is
hurt, or they lost their dog or kitten -- to try and get you to go with
them. DO NOT GO WITH THEM!
If someone does manage to
get you in their car, do not put on your seatbelt. Jump out when you see
people and the car has to make a stop.
If you are
trapped in an abductor's car:
Don't sit there quietly.
The person is taking you somewhere and wants to hurt you.
If the car has back doors,
try to scramble quickly to the back seat while the car is moving.
Try to jump out of a car
that is going slow or has to stop. Try to open a window and scream.
Try to reach over and blow
the horn, or grab the steering wheel. Scream as loud as you can while
you do this.
If the car is stopped or
slowed behind another car, reach over with your foot and quickly stomp
on the gas pedal as hard and as long as you can.
This is a time you will be
much safer if you cause an accident than if you behave.
Sexual Abuse Information for Middle School Students
What is sexual abuse?
abuse is when someone older than you touches the private parts of your
body (that's the parts your bathing suit covers) or has you touch the
private parts of their body. It can also be when someone older tries to
get you to take off your clothes or touches you or kisses you in a way
that makes you feel uncomfortable.
How do I tell what touching is bad?
likes to be hugged or touched by someone they care for. But there are
some kinds of touching that are not considered good for kids. Some of
this kind of touching might feel good. Some of this kind of touching
might feel bad or even hurt. If you aren't sure about a touch, talk to a
trusted adult about it.
What kind of kids are sexually abused?
can be sexually abused. It can happen to boys or girls. It can happen to
big kids or little kids--no matter how young or old, weak or strong. It
is estimated that 1 in 5 kids is sexually abused.
Who abuses kids?
adults care about kids and never sexually abuse them. But some people
have serious problems and think it is okay to be sexual with a child.
Sometimes a sexual abuser is a stranger, but usually a sexual abuser
would be someone you know. It might be your parent, or step-parent, or a
teacher, or a neighbor, or a minister or a friend of your parents. It
might be someone in your family, or someone that you like a lot.
Why would someone do
who sexually abuses a child has a problem, and needs help. People can do
bad things--even nice people. It is sometimes hard to believe that
someone we love or who is nice to us can sexually abuse us.
Is it my fault if this
happens to me?
Some kids blame themselves, but they shouldn't. Adults sometimes use
tricks like telling you that you are bad and that this is why this
happened. Also, the attention can sometimes seem nice. Maybe this person
gives you really good gifts or money when he or she wants to touch you.
Maybe this person is very gentle when he or she wants to touch you.
Maybe it is the only time he or she is "nice" to you. But whether it is
violent or gentle, it is very, very wrong and it must be stopped. No
matter what, if you are being sexually abused, it is never your fault.
How can I stop it?
way to stop sexual abuse is to talk about it. Sexual abuse is against
the law. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO KEEP IT A SECRET! Even if
the abuse only happens once, or seems like it's over, it's important to
tell. The person who abused you will probably try to do this to many
other boys and girls. There are many people who can help you and help
the abuser, if you tell them what has happened.
What if I'm afraid to
touch children in inappropriate ways may tell children that something
bad will happen if they ever tell anyone. Maybe someone told you that
you would be hurt if you told. Or that someone you love wouldn't love
you anymore. You may have been told things that scared you and made you
very afraid. If the abuser is a family member, you may be afraid the
family will break up if the secret is told. No matter what, it is
important to tell an adult you trust about what has happened.
Will anyone believe
are many adults who will believe you and who will help you. Some adults
may not want to believe that you could have been abused. Some adults may
tell you to forget about it. If this happens to you, find someone else
to tell. Keep telling until someone listens.
What will happen to
the abuser if I tell?
The abuser will get help. A person who sexually abuses children needs
help. Most abusers can get counseling. If the abuser is someone in your
family, you may see less of him or her for awhile. Because sexual abuse
is against the law, some abusers might go to jail.
There are many different ways children
can be sexually abused. The following stories give examples of some
different kinds of sexual abuse:
Denise was eleven and her
breasts were beginning to grow. Her uncle started "accidentally"
touching her breasts every chance he got. Later on, he would go into her
bedroom and reach under the sheets and touch her breasts. Denise
pretended to be asleep.
Hector was ten and loved
playing soccer. His coach gave him a lot of attention and would give him
rides after practice. The coach told Hector that there was a special
game they could play. The game was fun except for the part where the
coach had Hector hold and touch his penis. Hector wanted to stop, but
the coach said if he did, then he wouldn't get to play soccer anymore.
Jenny was seven. She liked
her mother's boyfriend because he always wanted her to dance with him,
but he would kiss her and rub his body up against her and reach up under
her dress when her mom was away. He said it was their special secret.
Tyrone was fourteen. A
twenty-five-old friend of his sister wanted to take Tyrone's picture.
Tyrone thought it would be fun. Because it was a hot day, the
photographer asked Tyrone to take off his shirt. Then she told Tyrone to
take off his pants, like he was in an underwear commercial. When she
told Tyrone to take off his underwear, he said no, but she told him that
if he didn't she would show everyone the pictures of him in his
Sarah was eleven and her
stepfather was sexually abusing her. He said that Sarah's mom didn't
love him, so he wanted Sarah to be his girlfriend. The abuse had gotten
worse the last few months, but Sarah was too afraid to tell. Her
stepfather said her mom would be hurt if Sarah told anyone. When her
stepfather had sex with her, Sarah felt like she wanted to die.
are some important things for you to remember if you are sexually
It's your body.
No one has the right to touch you. You can say no.
Abuse is never
your fault, even if you
don't say no.
hurts. It can hurt your
feelings or your body.
Keep telling until
someone listens. Even if
the first adult you tell doesn't help you, someone will. Telling the
right person is the way to make abuse stop.
What happens next
is not your fault. When
you tell about sexual abuse, the abuser will probably have to get help.
Things may be
reserved. Copyright © 1997 by the National Center for Victims of Crime.
This information may be freely distributed, provided that it is
distributed free of charge, in its entirety and includes this copyright