Expert shares how to protect children from child abuse - - Jackson, MS

Expert shares how to protect children from child abuse

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

In the wake of child abuse charges against a Flora police officer comes concern by many parents, many on social media, asking what they can do to protect their children.

"Often, these people that perpetrate on small children, or any child, are people that these kids know, that they love, and that they trust," said family nurse practitioner Regan D. Spence.

Spence, who serves as a pediatric sexual assault nurse examiner for the Children's Safe Center of Mississippi, sees dozens of abused children each month in her line of work.

The most important thing a parent can do is talk to their child, Spence says.

"Our strongest weapon against child abuse is making sure our children know, [that] they know their bodies, they know what's right and wrong, they know who to tell, they know very, very specific things," said Spence.

Making sure your child knows correct names for those inappropriate places is also important, Spence adds, since the child may not otherwise know how to describe a certain experience to the parent.

"I think it needs to start at the beginning, as soon as you're bathing your kids and your kids are old enough to have conversations with you, that needs to be a conversation that you have, whether that's during bath time or changing diapers," added Spence.

In the Flora incident, Madison County deputies said the abuse took place at a daycare at the home of Alderman's wife.

"We have to make sure we know who's got our kids at all times, said Spence." "We background check people. We talk to all of these other parents. We go and observe the daycare." 

Child advocates caution parents to be very careful who they choose to watch their children.

"They're not a person who is a scary man in a van with no windows on the corner with puppies. It's the person next to you," she said.

The Mississippi Department of Health regulates and licenses daycare facilities statewide.

You can see if they're licensed by clicking here to search for the business or operator on the MSDH website.

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