Child sexual abuse is a relentless cycle, impacting generation after generation of children, families and communities. Over 500,000 children are sexually abused each year, the far majority being vicitimized by someone in or around their homes. This cycle of abuse has existed uninterrupted for so long that it’s likely everybody knows someone who is a victim of child sexual abuse. To make matters worse, our response to child sexual abuse has been primarily victim-focused; triggering a system response only after a child has been exposed.
The Joseph J Peters Institute(JJPI) believes that in addition to clinical services to treat the outcomes of abuse, there is a need for prevention and intervention programs to stop child sexual abuse before it occurs. In 1999, JJPI became a site sponsor for a national non-profit organization whose approach shifts the responsibility for the prevention of child sexual abuse from children to adults. While that collaboration worked well, JJPI still saw a need for a multi-dimensional curriculum of programs that address the issue of prevention and intervention across a broad spectrum of ages, developmental levels, populations and self-interests. In 2006, JJPI Prevention Services was created to serve that purpose.
JJPI Prevention Services supports a focus on adult education to prevent child sexual abuse. We provide a continuous investment of time and materials in programs that educate adults how to recognize sexual behavior directed towards children, and how to act to stop it. That’s immediate real-time prevention. A more difficult task is how to prevent adults from directing sexual behaviors towards children in the first place.
JJPI Prevention Services has created workshop programs and educational materials that invest in the healthy sexual development of the next generation – today’s children and adolescents. We look at the sexual and social development cycle of children to identify areas where intervention can most effectively correct inappropriate sexual behaviors before they become problematic sexual development. We also address the impact that sexual exposure and over-sexualized environments have on children. As adults it is our responsibility to educate ourselves and become comfortable talking about the issue of sex and sexuality. Doing so allows us to provide our children with accurate knowledge, affirm and validate their individual stages of sexual development, and help them to make acceptable and healthy choices about their own sexual behavior.
JJPI Prevention Services continues to provide community outreach with a broad curriculum of programs that support the capacities of individuals and communities to prevent child sexual abuse. Our goal is to join with and facilitate community organizations in addressing the problem of child sexual abuse locally, by applying community-generated approaches and strategies. Each community’s need, capacity, and resource structure is unique, so we cannot apply a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach as a realistic solution. JJPI Prevention Services provides education on prevention and intervention strategies that have the real potential to stop sexual abuse before a child is harmed.
Adult participation and education can stop the sexual abuse of children. Our combined dedication and purpose will not only support the sexual safety of children, it will also contribute to the health of families, neighborhoods and entire communities - the public health. Come and join our campaign to prevent the sexual abuse of children. Today, make that decision to be proactive to keep children safe –in this generation and every one that follows.
Help Break the Cycle of Child Sexual Abuse