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Reviewing the focus: a summary and critique of child-focused sexual abuse prevention

Reviewing the focus: a summary and critique of child-focused sexual abuse prevention

Rudolph, Julia ORCID: 0000-0003-4878-3537, Zimmer-Gembeck, Melanie, Shanley, Dianne, Walsh, Kerryann and Hawkins, Russell (2018) Reviewing the focus: a summary and critique of child-focused sexual abuse prevention. In: British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Congress, 9th - 10th April 2018, Warwick. (Unpublished)

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Aim. The purpose of this presentation is to provide a brief historical overview of child-focused prevention efforts, summarize the limitations of these approaches, and review CSA risk factors, in order to consider how future prevention efforts could include parents, with the goal of developing innovative ways to prevent child sexual abuse (CSA).
Method. A search of the literature was conducted to identify papers on the history of child-focused CSA prevention programs, and the effectiveness of such programs. In addition, studies of CSA risk factors were reviewed, as were studies of parental involvement in prevention.
• CSA prevention programs are effective in increasing children's knowledge and protection skills, however the effect of this knowledge on children's capacity to prevent abuse remains unknown
• The foundational assumptions of child-focused prevention (i.e. that children can identify subtle actions or signals as abusive, reject the contact or attention of a known adult or authority figure, and ‘betray’ their abuser by reporting these actions) may be unrealistic
• There may be unintended outcomes for children such as anxiety, worry, wariness of touch and loss of trust
• Research on CSA risk has identified a substantial number of factors related to family structure and parenting (such as low involvement, warmth, supervision and communication) that could be targeted by prevention initiatives
Conclusions. In this paper a critique of child-focused protection programs and a summary of CSA risk factors are presented to demonstrate the need to compliment child-focused education by focusing more on protectors in the children’s ecology, specifically parents. Parents can play a significant role as protectors via two pathways: i) directly, through the strong external barriers afforded by parent supervision, monitoring and involvement and, ii) indirectly, by promoting their children's self-efficacy, well-being and self-esteem, which the balance of evidence suggests will help them become less likely targets for abuse.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: child sexual abuse; prevention; parenting
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Human Sciences (HUM)
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2022 16:05

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