The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 1 suggests that implementing a child sexual abuse prevention policy and making the changes necessary to protect children/youth from child sexual abuse are not easy tasks, but that your organization should take on as many individual strategies to prevent child sexual abuse as you are able. They also offer several steps—paraphrased below—to help your organization effectively create, implement, and measure child sexual abuse prevention strategies.
- Create a safe space
- Create an open environment in which employees/volunteers feel comfortable discussing child sexual abuse.
- Have clear goals
- Know why a certain strategy, policy, or practice is being considered and/or adopted to ensure that the most effective means are used to obtain goals.
- Create a process for developing child sexual abuse prevention policies and practices
- Obtain buy-in from all levels of your organization so that policies and practices are accepted and owned by everyone.
- Develop the policy. For example, gather a group of stakeholders, such as caregivers, employees/volunteers, and attorneys, to do the work.
- Approve the policy, which includes making sure it complies with organizational policies, state and national laws, and child protective services and law enforcement.
- Adopt the policy.
- Develop a system to track allegations of child sexual abuse and outcomes of cases.
- Inform your organization about the policy.
- Implement the policy.
- Evaluate the policy to continuously measure whether goals are being met.
For example, the goal of setting criteria for screening and selection of employees/volunteers may be to make sure that employees/volunteers are appropriate for working with the youth within your organization. Once that goal is agreed upon, and the screening and selection policies are adopted, your organization needs to reassess on a regular basis if that goal is being met. If it is not, what needs to be changed to meet the goal? If it is, consider more efficient ways to meet the goal.
- Include appropriate child sexual abuse policies and practices in the prevention plan
- In choosing child sexual abuse prevention policies and practices to adopt, your organization should gather information from several sources.
- Consider the strategies raised on this website.
Use other organizations’ experiences in this area. For example, look at the resources and sample policies included in this module. You may also consider discussing prevention policies with other organizations.
1 Saul J, Audage NC. Preventing Child Sexual Abuse Within Youth-serving Organizations: Getting Started on Policies and Procedures. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control; 2007. [Link https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/preventingChildSexualAbuse-a.pdf]
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