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Tips: Talking to your children and teens about sexual abuse

abuse talks

It’s often some of the most difficult conversations that are the most important ones to have.

In light of Jeff Stahl's recent I-Team investigation regarding a lawsuit over a child sexual abuse case on a school bus, News Channel 3's Caitlin Thropay explains how parents can talk to their children about sexual abuse no matter their age.

Read I-Team report here: I-Team: Family sues local school district and its busing company for child’s sexual abuse by driver

“As parents and caregivers it’s our responsibility to educate our children and more importantly to help them feel safe," Araceli Martinez, a family therapist at Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center told News Channel 3.

Martinez urges all parents to have conversations with their children about sexual abuse as soon as they start talking.

“It’s so important for people to be aware, the community and parents to be aware that this is something that happens," Martinez said.

To help with these difficult conversations, she recommends sitting down with your child and watching these free videos online at

“For very young children it’s really important for them to know their body parts and what their body parts are used for and what they are called," she said.

With older children, Martinez said it’s never safe to assume they already know these things or have learned these things at school.

“It is important to use language for their development as well and explain to them the difference between safe touch and unsafe touch," she explained.

For teens, these videos cover internet safety, something Martinez said is key right now with so many students doing distance learning.

“The best advice I would say tell a trusted adult and keep telling until someone does something to protect you and keep you safe," she said.

Martinez said the biggest take-a-way she wants parents to know is to not be afraid or avoid these type of conversations. Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center made these videos available for free in English and Spanish to help parents navigate these conversations.

You can also find more resources like where to find additional help near you at and additional resources at

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Caitlin Thropay

Caitlin Thropay is the Weekend Morning Anchor and Lifestyle Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3, The Desert’s News Leader. Learn more about Caitlin here.


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