Duggar interview should make parents vigilant, says expert

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INDIANAPOLIS - A national conversation is unfolding around FOX's exclusive interview with the parents of Josh Duggar after it was revealed he admitted to sexually assaulting five young women as a child.

In the interview, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar explain what they knew and did about the assaults.

Unfortunately, child molestation within a family is all too common.

According to the Children's Bureau, one in five girls and one in 20 boys will be molested as a child. And more than 90% of the time, they will know their abuser and may even be related to them.

Natalie Phillips with the Domestic Violence Network said there are ways to shield your child or at best prepare them.

“The best thing that you can do is give medically accurate age appropriate sex education using proper terms for body parts and that allows children to set boundaries and understand what consent is and help protect themselves as well,” she said.

There are warning signs to watch out for in children who have been molested.

"A young child having knowledge about sex that isn't age appropriate for them. Also being very nervous or restless around adults. Taking baths often and of course making any sort of comments that are sexual in nature that kind of put that red flag in a parents mind. You want to pay attention to those."

The Duggars claimed they sent their son away for counseling where he healed, but Phillips said the proper action is to re-assure your child that you believe them and then immediately call the Department of Child Services. A case worker will be assigned and they will lead you through the entire process even if it involves reporting the incident(s) to police.

The most important role a parent can play is to take the victim seriously and put them first.

"If your family member is also a perpetrator, it can be difficult. But victim safety has to come first," said Phillips. “Victims deserve to be believed. They deserve safety. They deserve proper care after the fact and that parents really need to be vigilant about the people who are in their children’s lives.”

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