SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- It's as easy as quick conversation.
Brandi Bartell is The Victim's Center Executive Director, and says opening up conversations with your kids before anything bad ever happens can help keep them safe.
"Have these open conversations at the dinner table, one- on-one with your child, and then as a family," Bartell said.
And, it doesn't have to be about sex.
"Consider, having conversations with children or adolescents about consent," Bartell said. "And, consent isn't necessarily consent to sexual activities. Consent is consent to healthy boundaries that they create for their own bodies, that they create for what they agree to do, and not do."
She says setting a family groundwork together with your kids can help protect them from potential predators, and can become part of your daily routine that's as automatic as buckling-up when you get in the car.
Bartell says setting boundaries ahead of time is key, like discussing ground rules with your child about who they're allowed to be alone with."
"Then anytime you encounter a situation where that isn't occurring, you then as a parent can feel a little bit more empowered, equipped to insert yourself in those situations without feeling like you're mean or hurting anybody's feelings," said Bartell.
She says by making these conversations part of your family's everyday life, your child will feel more secure and more comfortable if something ever does happen.
"These shouldn't be shameful things to talk about and if they continue to come up in our routines, thorough out life then there's if there is a situation that makes us uncomfortable there's much less shame, fear, anxiety that sometimes goes hand in hand with confronting and uncomfortable situation," Bartell said.