Preventing & Managing Risk
In order to help prevent the development of sexual behavior problems in children and teens, it is important that you – the professionals who work with kids every day – know what may put them at risk to develop sexual behavior problems and act out in sexually harmful ways, as well as what elements and approaches serve as protective factors to keep kids safe and healthy in their sexual development and behavior.
Decades of research findings have made it clear: children and adolescents need adult guidance in order to grow up to be healthy and happy, as well as to prevent their engaging in harmful sexual behaviors. The support and guidance of family members and other adults; age-appropriate education about human sexuality, development, and behavior; having friends; and having hopeful plans for the future are all critical to preventing the development of sexual behavior problems and abuse by children and adolescents.
In order to best prevent sexual abuse by adolescents, however, there is simply no substitute for supervision by adult caregivers and the professionals in a child’s life. Engaged involvement by and with adults in the life of a young person likely goes further than any single intervention. Our ultimate goal should be that children and adolescents experience themselves as competent in a wide range of relationships and able to relate to others with empathy.
For more specifics, and tools that can help you identify, understand, and respond to risk factors and create and apply protective factors, take a look at these videos and resources we’ve created and collected for you. And let us know how else we can help!
Resources About Preventing and Managing Risk
BOOKS & BOOKLETS
Delmonico, David and Elizabeth Griffin (2013). Illegal Images: Critical Issues and Strategies for Addressing Child Pornography Use
Flood, M (2018). Engaging Men and Boys in Violence Prevention. New York: Palgrave Macmillan
Foshee, Vangie and Stacey Langwick (2010). Safe Dates: An Adolescent Dating Abuse Prevention Curriculum
Montfort, Sue and Peggy Brick (2016). Unequal Partners: Teaching About Power, Consent and Healthy Relationships (Vol. One)
Schladale, Joann and Therese Langan (2012). Stop It! A Practical Guide for Youth Violence Prevention
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2007). Preventing Child Sexual Abuse Within Youth-Serving Organizations: Getting Started on Policies and Procedures.
"Risk and Protective Factors for Children Engaging in Problematic Sexual Behavior," with Kevin Creeden, MA, LMHC.
"Protective Factors Linked to Healthy Youth Development," with Kevin M. Powell, Ph.D.
CURRICULA AND LESSON PLANS ABOUT PREVENTING AND MANAGING RISK
Chicago Children’s Advocacy Organization-Offers many trainings available to youth-serving professionals on preventing child sexual abuse, including in Spanish.
Darkness to Light-Offers a prevention training program, including modules on the 5 Steps to Protecting Our Children (for all adults who work with children).
Enough Abuse Campaign-Offers extensive prevention resources for schools and youth organizations on healthy sexuality, including in-person trainings and written guides.
Stop Sexual Violence: A Technical Package to Prevent Sexual Violence-CDC Guidebook with general sexual violence prevention information for adults and youth.
"A Public Health Approach to Sexting," with Ryan Shields, Ph.D.
"The Impact of Pornography," with Cordelia Anderson, MA.
FACT SHEETS & ARTICLES
ATSA Infographic- 5 Things: Preventing Harmful Sexual Behaviors in Youth
Prevent Child Abuse America- Understanding the Effects of Pornography on Children
“Teenagers are Sexting—Now What?” Perri Klass, MD. New York Times.
Chiara Sabina, Ph.D., Janis Wolak, J.D., and David Finkelhor, Ph.D. The Nature and Dynamics of Internet Pornography Exposure for Youth.
"Talking to Families About Sexual Behavior Problems, Parts I and II," with David Prescott, LICSW, LCSW.
NEARI PRESS WEBINARS
“Creating Sexually Safer Congregations,” with Debra Haffner, MDiv, MPH. March 31, 2015.
“Prevention 4 Professionals: What You Need to Know to Prevent the Perpetration of Sexual Abuse by Children and Adolescents” with David Prescott and Becky Palmer. March 12, 2019.
COMING SOON: “Prevention 4 Professionals: Identifying and Responding to the Risk and Protective Factors for Youth Perpetration of Sexual Abuse.” with David Prescott and Becky Palmer. June 11, 2019.
“Promoting Sex-Wise Parenting: Supporting Parents to Promote Sexual Health and Safety” with Janet Rosenzweig. February 2016.
“Putting Prevention in the Hands of Youth Serving Organizations,” with Keith Kaufman. May 13, 2014.
Common Sense Media- Provides digital literacy and citizenship programs to educators and school communities intending to spark discussions about smart media choices.
Online Safety Tips for Teens- Article with suggestions about making smart decisions online and cyberbullying.
National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) Prevention Module- Many resources for advocates and educators about preventing sexual violence.