- May 2012
- Vol. 13 No. 4
Promising Prevention for Sexual Abuse
Stop It Now! Georgia, a collaborative effort to prevent child sexual abuse, contributed to 5 years of declining sexual abuse incidence rates in the State, according to a new case study published in Health Education Journal. Acknowledging the greater effectiveness of a multifaceted approach to sexual abuse prevention, the initiative used tactics targeting not just children and parents, but community leaders and professionals in related fields such as child care, health care, mental health, and domestic violence. The study's authors identified several promising elements of the initiative that other States and communities may wish to consider when addressing sexual abuse.
Funded in part by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the initiative was planned and implemented by Prevent Child Abuse Georgia in collaboration with Stop It Now! International and an advisory council of State and local government and community-based organizations. From 2002 to 2007, Stop It Now! Georgia accomplished the following:
- Distributed more than 230,000 brochures, posters, tip cards, and magnets about warning signs and ways to protect children from sexual abuse
- Increased awareness of child sexual abuse through public service announcements and earned media coverage
- Staffed a helpline contacted by more than 1,200 callers concerned about child sexual abuse—nearly half of the calls were referred for intervention by child protective services (CPS)
- Held roughly 250 training sessions for 7,700 community members and related professionals on:
- Healthy child sexual behavior and development
- Child sexual abuse warning signs and responses
- Prevention in families and child care settings
- Facilitation of community dialogues
State CPS data on child sexual abuse showed the incidence rate dropped during 4 of the initiative's 5 years. Overall, the rate dropped from 99 cases per 100,000 children in 2002 to 56 cases per 100,000 children in 2007. The study's authors noted other factors that may have contributed to the lower incidence rate, including a CPS initiative that started in 2005 to expand prevention services to more families. Nonetheless, Stop It Now! Georgia has demonstrated several positive outcomes and continues to offer State residents targeted materials to reduce the incidence of child sexual abuse.
For more information, visit Stop It Now! Georgia's website:
"An Empirical Case Study of a Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Initiative in Georgia," by D. J. Schober, S. B. Fawcett, S. Thigpen, A. Curtis, and R. Wright, was published in Health Education Journal, and is available on the Sage Journals website: