Together We Can Prevent the Sexual Abuse of Children
Conversations in Prevention
July 12, 2018
Dear Prevention Partners,

Stop It Now! is sometimes asked to give our rationale for creating a safe space for people who are at-risk to sexually harm children or perhaps have already done so. Our early model and design included the importance of understanding the role that adults who could or do abuse children could play in keeping children safe. The complexity itself of the reasons a person sexually abuses, and the conditions that need to be present in order for abuse to happen, has always fueled our belief that there are many places that we can intervene to create safety. Our early conversations with incarcerated offenders and with survivors of sexual abuse told us that there are many opportunities to intervene before sexual harm happens.

We know that there are many youth and adults who want help. They may be struggling with their thoughts, feelings and/or behaviors for diverse reasons, some within their control and some not, but so many folks in this position describe similar internal struggles that pit what they’re feeling or experiencing against their own moral codes and values. They do not want to hurt someone – or continue to hurt someone. They are looking for help. 

Perpetration prevention makes sense in any comprehensive prevention plan. Understanding how to create opportunities for help with those who might be at risk, and how to support resources to interrupt and intervene in an individual’s potential pathway that ends in abuse is a natural step of prevention. We have conversations about the importance of perpetration prevention and how to have conversations specific to perpetrator prevention with individuals and concerned community members, and with our partners in prevention. As a member of the National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation as well as part of their communication’s committee, Stop It Now! is committed to shared efforts to bring more awareness and communication tips and strategies to all adults and youth. Read more about the Pillars of Prevention in "Conversations We're Having" below and follow #6Pillers campaign @ PreventTogether

With Thorn’s online deterrence program, Now! has been responding to adults (redirected) to our Helpline, and now Thorn has launched a campaign to help youth and young adults reach out for help. Read more below in "Conversations We're Having."

To further conversations about the importance of reaching out to adults concerned with their own behaviors, our last two webinars have addressed questions from adults looking for help for themselves, and we were recently interviewed for the Prevention Project’s Podcast. In these recordings, the focus is on creating respectful and understanding space for adults who are struggling with unwanted sexual feelings so they can reach out for help. 

Community mental health and professional care-giving organizations often prepare their staff to address the trauma caused by sexual abuse, yet rarely get to focus on how to support families to plan for safety to prevent sexual abuse. We are hosting our own Circles of Safety training this December to address this need and to provide tools and knowledge to increase the ability of those who work in youth-serving organizations to provide tools and knowledge to increase these program’s ability to help children grow up not only free from harm, but to reduce their risk to cause harm. For more information, click here

It’s not easy to talk about sexual abuse and the people (adults and youth) who pose the greatest risk to children, but it is necessary and important. This is primary prevention, and mirrors our stance that a healthy and safe society is only as healthy and safe as the individuals within that society, as well reflects our stance that all adults should be accountable when it comes to protecting children. By reaching out to adults who pose risks to children, we invite them to act responsibly - for their community and for themselves. 


Jenny Coleman, Director
Quotes of the Month
“Thank you for your encouraging words. Your words meant a lot. I've never felt so helpless, and I'm fighting an uphill battle but I am willing to go the distance for my children. I cannot convey how much your response meant to me.”

“I really appreciate your response. It has helped me out a ton and my wife and I found great strength in your counsel. We are going to continue working through things & focus on our daughter.”
Spotlight: Helpline Conversations
Recently we heard from a mom asking a difficult question, “ Is my daughter masturbating too much?” As a caring parent, who understood the importance of both helping her daughter with safe boundaries and an understanding of privacy, and with helping her develop a positive body image, this mom was struggling to address this behavior. Our Helpline offered her confirmation of the normalcy of a young child masturbating, while recognizing the need to help her daughter with safe behaviors, sharing resources on sexual development, safety planning and potentially seeking professional assistance with her pediatrician and perhaps a child therapist. She responded, “Thank you so much for your thoughtful and thorough response, as well as for all of the resources. We appreciate it so much!”. 
We want to hear from you!
In February we asked you “What have you thought about when thinking about preventive steps to keep children safe?  Over 70% of those who answered said safety considerations. Half of you responded that your own experience with sexual abuse, as well as your values and beliefs also influenced your thoughts about prevention. Over half of you identified the shame and/or discomfort in talking about abuse and the sexual abuse of someone close as contributing to your thoughts. Thank you for sharing. Your responses show us how speaking up and sharing our own experiences can help us all reduce the isolation that surrounds child sex abuse and make prevention a bigger part of the conversation moving forward. 

Keep sharing! Take this month's survey, and tell us "Who have you had conversations with regarding a child’s sexual safety?"
Conversations We're Having
Upcoming Training
Stop It Now! will host Circles of Safety: Awareness to Action for Professionals Working with Parents and Professional Caregivers in December, followed by a Train the Trainer for youth serving organization professionals. Participants will learn how to support children’s healthy and safe sexual development; identify and respond to warning signs in children and adult’s behaviors; and design safety plans to address safe boundaries, privacy, consent and respect. Handbooks and safety tool templates included. To learn more and to register, click here
The Pillars of Prevention
The National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse & Exploitation developed Six Pillars for Prevention – to articulate important elements of a comprehensive policy agenda as a tool for communities to use to expand this conversation. To bring awareness to these Pillars, the Coalition will elevate each of its pillars through a social media campaign, beginning with Prevent Initial Perpetration of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation, which advocates for policies that support efforts to prevent initial perpetration of child sexual abuse and exploitation. Stop It Now! is helping to lead this pillar’s campaign. It’s time to focus attention on ending child sexual abuse before a child is harmed! Learn more about the #6Pillars for Prevention @ PreventTogether.
Youth Deterrence
For over 5 years, we have partnered with Thorn, also a generous supporter of the Stop It Now! Helpline. Their work leads them to discover and build tools that will help prevent sexual abuse. Their adult deterrence program has led adults looking for illegal online sexual abuse images to our Helpline, helping these people take steps to no longer harm children and seek help. They now are working to provide help to youth who may be navigating through their feelings and experiences that may be uncomfortable or even harmful. Knowing that it’s important to go where youth are – online - and working with experts to hone their message and help, Thorn has launched their Youth Deterrence Campaign. Using social media ads to invite young people to reach out for help at if they’ve seen something online that is disturbing and/or are having uncomfortable, unwanted feelings themselves, resources such as Crisis Text for Youth, Suicide Hotlines and Stop It Now! are highlighted as safe places to ask for help, and we continue to help inform their campaign, resources and responses. Their early data looks promising and indicates that this is a tool that can help youth seek out help before their behaviors cause harm. 
Did you miss one of our "Dear Stop It Now! Helpline" webinars?
You can find them here.
Conversations to Share
ATSA’s 37th Annual Research and Treatment Conference
ATSA (The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers) 2018 International Conference is open for registration. Held in Vancouver this year, from October 17th thru 20th , this conference brings together many experts, researchers, practitioners, law enforcement specialists and others to share information in both victim and perpetrator research and treatment – and prevention!
Masculine Norms and Violence: Making the Connections 
Promundo works to promote gender equality and create a world free from violence by engaging men. Their recent report explores and connects key research findings on the links between harmful masculine norms and violent behaviors. Specific to child sexual abuse and exploitation, this report notes that “it is rare for work to prevent child sexual abuse and exploitation to incorporate gender-transformative approaches addressing harmful masculinities” (pp 40-45). Through better understanding of how boys’ upbringing, masculine norms and gendering contribute to perpetration of sexual abuse and exploitation, we can begin some of the root causes and focus on raising emotionally and socially healthy men. 
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