Child sexual abuse prevention opportunities: parenting, programs, and the reduction of risk

Rudolph, Julia, Zimmer-Gembeck, Melanie J., Shanley, Dianne C., and Hawkins, Russell (2018) Child sexual abuse prevention opportunities: parenting, programs, and the reduction of risk. Child Maltreatment, 23 (1). pp. 96-106.

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Abstract

To date, child sexual abuse (CSA) prevention has relied largely on child-focused education, teaching children how to identify, avoid, and disclose sexual abuse. The purpose of this article is to explore how prevention opportunities can include parents in new and innovative ways. We propose that parents can play a significant role as protectors of their children 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, competence, well-being, and self-esteem, which the balance of evidence suggests will help them become less likely targets for abuse and more able to respond appropriately and disclose abuse if it occurs. In this article, we first describe why teaching young children about CSA protective behaviors might not be sufficient for prevention. We then narratively review the existing research on parents and prevention and the parenting and family circumstances that may increase a child’s risk of experiencing sexual abuse. Finally, we make a number of recommendations for future approaches to prevention that may better inform and involve parents and other adult protectors in preventing CSA.

Item ID: 50825
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1077-5595
Keywords: prevention, child sexual abuse, parenting, risk factors, education
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC LP13010030
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2017 22:18
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920209 Mental Health Services @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health @ 50%
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