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Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Education

Child sexual abuse is a chronic, under-reported tragedy in the United States. Studies cited by Prevent Child Abuse America estimate that at least 20% of American women and 5-16% of American men experienced some form of sexual abuse as children. Sexual abuse can occur in all populations, at all socioeconomic and educational levels, and across all racial and cultural groups. The hopeful news is that child sexual abuse can be prevented—if children, parents, and schools are armed with the knowledge and tools that help them prevent abuse.

The NYSPCC has developed comprehensive programming which aims to prevent childhood sexual abuse by offering targeted information to children, parents, and school communities. The goal of our programming is to spark conversation and to offer safety information and practical strategies for protecting children from sexual abuse.

To request Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Education workshops for your school, child’s classroom, or parent/community group, please click HERE.

 

For Students

The NYSPCC teaches child sexual abuse prevention skills to children in grades K-12 through its innovative age-appropriate programming. Our multi-platform approach includes the use of videos, puppetry, guided exercises, and group discussion. These workshops provide practical strategies to help keep students safe; enhance their understanding of how child sexual abuse impacts youth, families and communities; and what they can do if they believe they are at-risk or have encountered child sexual abuse.

Safe Touches for K-3rd Grades

Using colorful puppets, The NYSPCC’s specially trained clinicians use role-play scenarios to help children recognize safe and not-safe touches, teach body safety, and help children identify whom to tell if they have experienced a not-safe touch. Children play an interactive role during the workshop by giving suggestions to the puppets on what they can do to keep their bodies safe, and who they can go to for help if they have been in a not-safe situation. Children are also encouraged to ask questions and voice concerns. The workshop emphasizes that if a child has been touched inappropriately, it is never the child’s fault. Each child is given a copy of an activity and coloring book to be used with their parents and designed to reinforce the messages from the workshop. These workbooks are available in both English and Spanish. (The cost of the total number of workbooks needed is added to the cost of the training.)

4th-5th Grades

Workshops provide practical strategies to help keep students safe; enhance their understanding of how child sexual abuse impacts youth, families, and communities; and what they can do if they believe they are at-risk or have encountered child sexual abuse. The format of this program includes an informative presentation, video, and group discussion. The workshops will:

  • Teach children about personal body safety
  • Teach children to identify safe and not-safe touches
  • Teach children what to do if someone tries to give them a not-safe touch
  • Help children identify who they can go to for help
  • Offer children practical strategies they can employ to keep themselves safe


Students will be asked to demonstrate their understanding of the concepts being taught through the use of “what if” scenarios, small group exercises, and vignettes. Additionally, a short (2.5 minute) video presentation depicting a young boy telling his father about sexual abuse perpetrated by his baseball coach will be viewed. Children will be asked to discuss how the boy and his dad might have felt talking about the abuse and to identify a trusted adult who they could tell if abuse happened to them. The concepts of “it is never the child’s fault” and the importance of “keep telling until you are believed” will be reinforced.

6th-8th Grade

Building on the previous curricula in a more mature way, these workshops also include contemporary media to help students understand the impact of child sexual abuse and how to access help. These workshops include a presentation that covers the following topics:

  • Overview of child sexual abuse: facts and statistics on victims and perpetrators.
  • Understanding the cycle of abuse and power dynamics: description of the tactics used by perpetrators to lower defenses of victims; the stages of grooming. This section will utilize video clips from news interviews with sexual abuse survivors.
  • Understanding why youth don’t tell: overview of emotions related to being abused that keep the victim silent; general symptoms and signs of sexual abuse.
  • What to do: action plan for youth about what they can do if they are sexually abused or encounter unwanted sexual advances by an adult.


9th-12th Grade


These workshops will include a presentation that will cover the following topics:

  • Overview of child sexual abuse: facts and statistics on victims and perpetrators.
  • Defining the problem: legal definitions of what constitutes abuse, both physical and non-physical contact; age of consent laws.
  • Understanding the cycle of abuse and power dynamics: description of the tactics used by perpetrators to lower defenses of victims; the stages of grooming. This section will use video clips from news interviews with sexual abuse survivors.
  • Understanding why youth don’t tell: overview of emotions related to being abused that keep the victim silent; general symptoms and signs of sexual abuse.
  • What to do: action plan for youth about what they can do if they are sexually abused or encounter unwanted sexual advances by an adult.


Optional activities:

After the presentation, participants will be engaged in a processing group. The group is facilitated by a NYSPCC clinician experienced in group dynamics and sensitive to the needs of the age group. Students will have an opportunity to give feedback about the presentation, participate in reinforcing activities, and provide information about any concerns they may have regarding child sexual abuse. If during these groups any concerns arise, such as a possible disclosure of abuse by a participant, clinicians will have an opportunity to follow-up with students privately and immediately upon conclusion of the group session. The process group consists of the following:

  • Reflection—a time for students to comment on the presentation, have questions answered and discuss how the information may impact them
  • Reinforcing activities (topics chosen based on age and group dynamics)
    • Dispelling myths and facts about sexual abuse
    • Gender norms—the building of a boy or girl in today’s world
    • Case vignette examples
    • My Body Belongs to Me: affirming statements and personal boundaries that students can assert for their protection
  • Action Steps
    • Specific steps students can take to help keep themselves safe


Workshops are typically 1.5 hours and can be adapted to meet your specific training needs.

For Parents


We offer practical strategies that families can use to engage children at home around personal body safety and that help parents recognize and work through their own anxiety surrounding this topic. This interactive program offers resources, opens dialogue and creates common language among families to help protect children from sexual abuse. We explore common myths and facts related to child sexual abuse, identify normal sexual development in children at different stages, and help parents find ways to start and continue the safety conversation with their children at various ages. These workshops are approximately two hours long

For School Personnel


We offer an overview of child sexual abuse, focusing on the signs, symptoms, and behaviors a child may exhibit in the classroom. Teachers learn how to talk with children using the minimal facts interviewing technique, about appropriate reporting procedures, and how to talk to parents after a disclosure has been made.

Schedule a Workshop


To request Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Education workshops for your school, child’s classroom, or parent/community group, please click HERE.

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