Book review: Use Your W.I.T.S. written by Norgenta Lata

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Research suggests that as many as 1 in 20 children in the UK have been sexually abused. Sexual abuse is one of the reasons why children are sometimes unable to live with their birth family and require adoption. That may be because they’ve been exposed to abuse themselves, or because there is a risk of it because of their parent’s actions and behaviour.

Thankfully, the number of children with a child protection plan due to sexual abuse is at a 14-year low. To continue to reduce this figure, children need to understand what is safe and what isn’t from an early age.

Raising awareness around sexual abuse and empowering and educating children to recognise and report it is therefore key to tackling it. “Use Your W.I.T.S” was written by Norgenta Lata to do just that. It aims to encourage children of all ages to take ownership of their bodies, understand the difference between safe and unsafe touching, and be able to identify when they feel uncomfortable and do not want to be touched.

Use Your W.I.T.S.

The characters of the book are children Norah and Joni. They talk about what it means to use your W.I.T.S. (Walk Away, Instincts, Tell, and Secrets) by sharing how they learn to take ownership of their bodies and understand when they feel safe, and when they don’t.

Norah learns how she can set boundaries and react and respond when she feels unsafe or just doesn’t want to be touched. These are really important tools for young children to have so that they understand what to do if they feel uncomfortable or unsafe when someone touches them.

As well as telling Norah and Joni’s story, the book also contains resources and highlights discussion points to encourage parents and carers to ask children questions and explore the key issues about body safety, boundaries, and consent.

The book is a great resource for all parents. My girls are 10 and six and both got a lot from reading the book with me. It sparked discussions about what is safe touching, what to do if they feel uncomfortable when someone touches them, and the parts of their body that are private.

About the Author

Norgenta Lata is an NHS Mental Health Professional with a background working in Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services. She currently works in adult mental health and has a master’s degree in Psychological Sciences. Norgenta is a passionate advocate for trauma-informed responses to sexual and domestic abuse and is a member of the Awareness and Response to Domestic and Sexual Abuse (ARDSA) network that aims to influence policy and practice across the NHS.

You can buy “Use Your W.I.T.S.” from Amazon, a range of bookshops, and the publisher Austin Macauley. Please note that this is an affiliate link. That means if you click on the link to Amazon and buy the book, I get paid a fee.

Use Your W.I.T.S. a book about keeping children safe from sexual abuse represented by a child wearing a blue patterned jumper holding a leaf in front of their face standing in a wood.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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