Together We Can Prevent the Sexual Abuse of Children
Conversations in Prevention
October 2, 2017
Dear Prevention Community,

A hallmark of the Stop It Now! model of prevention is conversation. Without it, we cannot hope to protect children. We must be able to talk about the concerns we have for children’s safety, warning signs we’ve seen, or protective steps we’re taking in order to reduce isolation and set the course for prevention. Wherever these conversations happen - in homes or in public platforms - we hope that we can help reduce the isolation we all can feel when faced with situations where a child needs adults to speak up so that he or she can remain safe by providing resources, guidance and support. 

Through our Helpline, our Circles of Safety trainings, and our national (and international) presence and networks, we are privy to concerns and discussions about individual’s lives and the impact either sexual abuse itself or concerns about sexual abuse has on individual lives, families and communities. Our media is filled with reports, op-eds and discussions of children’s sexual safety. More than ever before, adults are talking about sexual abuse – and how to prevent it.

Honoring the importance of conversation, we are excited to present a shift in our E-News format. Our E-News has a new name: Conversations in Prevention and will feature stories and themes we hear through our Helpline and trainings, adding our prevention perspective and sharing tools and resources on how to take action. By sharing these conversations from around the globe and across families, communities and institutions, we hope to build the confidence and knowledge of every adult – so that every adult feels supported and prepared to speak up and take protective actions to prevent sexual abuse. 

We look forward to your thoughts and feedback, and as always – Thank you for caring about children’s safety. 

In peace and hope,
Jenny Coleman, Director
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"This is the best resource I've ever found about sexual abuse. I will continue to spread the word about your service. I felt empowered to take action and I received highly competent and empathetic answers. I've also read through all your materials which are great. Your service is absolutely top-notch. Huge thanks for existing!!!"
Together we can
Spotlight: Difficult Conversations Between Partners
Of those reaching out to the Stop It Now! Helpline in the past 12 months because they were concerned that an adult they knew was a risk to children, 7% identified their relationship to the person as spouse or partner. 

While the role of the bystander is often very complicated and confusing, one of the more difficult situations for a bystander to be in is when there is a concern that someone they love could pose a risk to children. 

Just the very act of reaching out and asking for advice and information is a scary notion. How does one say that they think someone they love, perhaps intimately, is looking at children online – with sexual intent? How does a girlfriend go about reconciling the possibility that her beloved is viewing child pornography? What might a wife think others will think about her if she speaks up about her concerns with her husband’s online behaviors? What might a father worry about who wonders if his own brother could be a risk to his children? The courage in reaching out to take the next step – whatever that step might be – is evident. 

There is the “yuck” factor, “how could anyone I love be interested in that?”, which can bring in its own type of self-loathing. Then there is the fear and guilt factor that if concerns are spoken out loud, lives will be forever changed. It can feel near impossible to reach past all of that to speak up and take protective actions. But that’s exactly what we need to do to help keep children safe – and to help the adults we love and care about.  

Typically, bystanders ask the Helpline, “When is the right time to speak up”? Does a concerned partner speak up when she’s found child pornography searches on the home computer or wait until she has found an actual file of sexual abuse images? Does a worried sibling speak up after noticing his brother talking in sexual terms to his daughter or after his daughter tells him that she’s uncomfortable with her uncle? The answer is to speak up as soon as you have any concern about a child’s safety. 

We want to hear from you!
Have you ever suspected that an adult you love may be a risk to a child’s sexual safety?

If the answer is yes, take this survey to tell us what warning signs you observed.
Conversations to Share
Upcoming Webinar
Join Stop It Now! for its 2nd webinar in our online series on 10/11/17 at 3pm ET. This webinar, “Dear Helpline, I’m worried my partner is a pedophile” presents a helpline inquiry from a woman concerned about her boyfriend’s online behaviors and wants to know how to respond to her concerns. This webinar is appropriate for any adult wondering how to address concerns that someone they love is showing warning signs that he or she is a risk to children’s sexual safety. 
Resource Highlight
Dr. Elizabeth Letourneau, Director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, shared this important talk on TEDMED last year. Sharing heart wrenching stories of youth living with - but not acting on -sexual attraction to children, she reminds us and reinforces the idea that Prevention Is Possible
Conversations We're Having
We’re proud to have been a first time recipient of the Reliance grant. We’ve wrapped up our comprehensive Circles of Safety training for specialized foster care programs and invite you to read our report.
Stop It Now! has been awarded a grant through the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and will be bringing Circles of Safety to a local Community Action program, who serves economically challenged families in rural Massachusetts.
The Chicago CAC hosted Circles of Safety: Safety Planning Through Healthy Sexuality Education to more than 90 professionals at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.
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