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Part of the inspiration that led to Kidpower came from stories I heard from adults that started with the words, ‘IF ONLY…’

If ONLY, when my youth group leader dropped all the kids off except for me and then touched me in a way that my mom and dad said NEVER to let a man touch me. If only I had known how to stop him. If only I had had the words to say to tell my parents what had happened. I would have gotten help so much sooner, and my life would have been so much easier!”

At that time, experts estimated that one in 3 girls and one in 4 boys would be sexually assaulted before they were 18 years old. I would look at the 15 girls in my Girl Scout Troop and ask myself, “1 in 3? That’s FIVE of them! Which five girls is it okay with me that this happens to?” And, of course, the answer was NONE of them! I wondered, “What can I do to protect the kids in my life? And how can I prepare them to take charge of their own safety in ways that are FUN, not scary or upsetting?” With the help of many talented and committed people, Kidpower was born in our search for answers.

In honor of April being National Child Abuse Prevention Month in the US, we are providing free workshops on April 28th for parents, educators, and other caring adults called Protecting Children From Sexual Abuse Without Scaring Them. To help make it possible for more people from different time zones to join us, we are providing these free workshops at 8 am in the morning and 8 pm in the evening.

Here is where you can find answers to the following questions and more: Kidpower Child Abuse Prevention FAQS These are questions from ADULTS, not kids.

  • Who or what kind of people do I need to watch out for?
  •  How do these people get access to kids? And why do kids let them?
  • What about online abuse?
  • What can I do to protect my child from sexual abuse?
  • How can I prepare children with skills to stop potential perpetrators?
  • How should parents talk to their children about their body? Should they use real names for their body parts? Why?
  • Are there any myths about child sex abuse that Kidpower would like to clear up?
  • What are some warning signs that children have been abused?
  • Do you talk to kids about the steps to take if they feel they have been abused?

Remember, just talking about the bad things that can happen is more likely to make our kids anxious without making them safer. When we coach them to be successful in practicing safety skills, they are more likely to become more confident and more competent – and they are better prepared to use these skills to prevent and solve problems with people both in emergency situations and in their daily lives.

As always, we truly appreciate your questions, comments, and suggestions.

With best wishes for safety and happiness for you and your loved ones,

– Irene, Kidpower Executive Director & Founder


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Published: April 19, 2022   |   Last Updated: April 19, 2022

Kidpower Founder and Executive Irene van der Zande is a master at teaching safety through stories and practices and at inspiring others to do the same. Her child protection and personal safety expertise has been featured by USA Today, CNN, Today Moms, the LA Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Publications include: cartoon-illustrated Kidpower Safety Comics and Kidpower Teaching Books curriculum; Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe; the Relationship Safety Skills Handbook for Teens and Adults; Earliest Teachable Moment: Personal Safety for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers; The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People, and the Amazon Best Seller Doing Right by Our Kids: Protecting Child Safety at All Levels.