The Prevention Coalition Starts a Conversation About Preventing the Perpetration of Child Sexual Abuse
Why is it so hard for the public and the media to understand that child sexual abuse can be prevented? During the recent media blitz over the grand jury report about child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania, we watched survivor after survivor tell their story. It was heart wrenching. But why was the prevention of child sexual abuse not a piece of the narrative?
Whether we interrupt the thought process of someone at risk for abusing children, educate children and adults about child sexual abuse, or put policies in place that remove children from the circumstances that lead to abuse, we are preventing perpetration. We are stopping abuse before it happens. We are sparing children the terrible pain that the survivors of the Catholic Church abuse in Pennsylvania suffered.
The Prevention Coalition is committed to taking steps to make the public understand that prevention is possible. The Prevention Coalition’s “Six Pillars of Prevention” are a great framework for the prevention of child sexual abuse. The Sixth Pillar of Prevention – “Preventing Perpetration” – is particularly important.
During the months of July and August, the Prevention Coalition focused its efforts on publicizing Pillar Six: “Preventing Perpetration”. There have been daily tweets and weekly blogs on the subject. The effort has been led by Jenny Coleman of Stop It Now! This is apropos because Stop It Now! is one of very few organizations that provides a helpline for those who are at risk of abusing children, in addition to educating adults and families about preventing child sexual abuse. Visit www.stopitnow.org for more information.
In August, Ann Snyder of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers authored a blog closely related to this subject. She pointed out that capturing the attention of media will require that we learn to pivot the conversation away from the noise of current events to prevention. She provided many real-life examples of how to do this. This is a powerful tool in the prevention toolbox. To see her blog, click here, http://www.preventtogether.com/blog/6578059
Over the next year, the Prevention Coalition will examine each Pillar in depth, highlighting members who make significant contributions to a particular Pillar and its policy issues. The Third Pillar “Promoting Healthy Relationships and Sexuality Education for Children and Youth” is being sponsored by the World Childhood Foundation in September and October.
It is our hope that the dialogue the Prevention Coalition seeks to advance with the “Six Pillars” will lead to meaningful policy changes that will make a positive impact on the lives and children and families.