Together We Can Prevent the Sexual Abuse of Children
Conversations in Prevention
Dear Prevention Community,

Our Helpline recently received an email from a man who was looking for help because his wife was upset that he frequently, and by his report, subconsciously, put his hands down his pants. In particular, his wife was concerned by this behavior in front of their children. Both he and his wife are survivors of sexual abuse, and his wife felt that his behavior gave their children the wrong message about safe and healthy behaviors, and made them more vulnerable to being victimized. He wanted to know whether or not this was really a problem or if his wife was being overly sensitive, given her history. (To read this letter and our response, click here .)

Sexual abuse is a public health issue. Simply put, this means that with awareness, education and tools, we can more successfully prevent child sexual abuse and thus, we can reduce the impact of sexual abuse on health and well-being – on an individual and on a whole community. And through this public health lens, we can see these parents on a course to be informed, and actively involved and responsive to their children’s safety. That doesn’t mean that it is clear as day about what behaviors and what kind of environment can best keep their children safe, but their awareness of their need to address questions and concerns is so key in setting a strong foundation of best practices early in their family. 

This mother demonstrates her awareness that if children are regularly exposed to behaviors that are most often considered personal and private, they may not be as prepared as they could be to let their parents know when an adult – or another child – crosses certain boundaries. She recognizes that this type of situation or environment may leave them more vulnerable. And moving from this recognition, she asks her parenting partner to make changes in his behavior.

So dad takes steps to learn more, and reaches out for information. He contacts our Helpline and wonders how his behavior affects his children’s safety and really, is trying to clarify his responsibility regarding how he contributes to creating safety in his home to protect his children. Raising these questions, and sometimes even conflicts, is crucial in shifting how we can approach children’s safety. While some may think that his wife’s objection to his behavior is perhaps a bit paranoid, and maybe even histrionic to think that a simple scratch of a private area is akin to sexual abuse, it’s discussions like these between parents and adults that begin building protective layers around children. Read more...
Quote of the Month
“I thank you so much for your response and all the valuable information you have shared with me... This year, 2020, is the year that I am going to take steps to end the cycle of abuse in my family. Once again, I thank you for your kind words and your support.” - Survivor contacting the Helpline for guidance on preventing further sexual abuse in her family
Spotlight: A Review of 2019
As we’re preparing our annual report, and compiling the Helpline data from 2019, we wanted to share a few highlights:
  • Media outlets came to us for answers about how child sexual abuse happens and what we can do to prevent it. Read interviews with the NYTimes, Parents and others.
  • Over 1000 people attended trainings on creating cultures of prevention and building skills to address concerns in their own lives.
  • The Helpline responded to over 2,100 inquiriesmore than any other year!

We want to hear from you!
We want to hear about prevention actions you've taken to help bring awareness to everyday activities and conversations. Take our short survey to share your experience.
Conversations to Share
Prepare now for National Child Abuse Prevention Month 2020. This April, the theme is Strong and Thriving Families. For resources and campaign materials, visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway’s website. Let’s talk about Prevention!
Campus Sexual Assault Prevention has a new tool. The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) has published a new report, Enhancing Campus Sexual Assault Prevention Efforts through Situational Interventions that shares a methodology and resources to reduce environmental opportunities for violence to take place. 
The online resource Birds and Bees and Kids has some great advice for parents and caregivers on how to talk to children about boundaries with their friends, such as “Sometimes, kids will want to play games with privates, and the rule in our family is that this is not okay and not safe. Private parts are very sensitive. Just like you wouldn’t want someone to stick their finger in your eye, you don’t want them to touch your privates”. Read more at How To Talk About: boundaries With Friends.
Conversations We're Having
Upcoming Now! Trainings
In-person Training:
Join us April 29 th and 30 th in New Britain, CT for Circles of Safety: Awareness to Action for Professionals Working with Parents and Professional Caregivers and Train the Trainer for Youth Serving Organizations.
Live Webinar:
Join us April 2 nd for "Dear Stop It Now! Helpline... Is my child a pedophile?" This webinar will share letters from parents worried about their child’s harmful sexual behaviors as a way to address some of the confusion and concerns about youth with sexually abusive behavior, and share information and strategies about accessing appropriate help and being an engaged parent. Guest expert, Becky Palmer, MS will join us to help us learn more about youth who sexually harm others and how we can help them.
Stop It Now! spoke with WHYY, Philadelphia’s PBS/NPR partner station about debunking “stranger danger” and warning signs in children for the article: Child sexual abuse: Listen and look for these signs.
Wondering how to participate in Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month? Bring awareness to the importance of prevention through our fundraising kit! Help support vital services that provide the education and tools so that everyone can feel better prepared to keep children safe.
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