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Child Sex Abuse Prevention & Protection Center (Stop It Now!)

Preventing child sexual abuse

Child sexual abuse harms millions every year.  Victims and their families suffer silently, often with lifelong after-effects. Help prevent this. We can Stop It Now!

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Why should I support your work?

One in 10 children is sexually abused in the U.S. before age 18. The impact of sexual abuse does not end when the abuse ends. Survivors of sexual abuse are at significantly greater risks for severe and chronic physical and mental health issues, academic and employment struggles, and relationship and family difficulties.

In addition to these costs of sexual abuse, the financial costs impact all of society - the average lifetime cost for victims is close to $300,000.

The Child Sex Abuse Prevention and Protection Center (also known as Stop It Now!) was founded nearly 30 years ago to prevent the sexual abuse of children by mobilizing adults, families and communities to take actions that protect children before they are harmed.

Why does your charity exist?

We were founded with the vision that children should grow up free from sexual harm. To do that, we recognize the critical need of having the sexual abuse of children recognized as a preventable public health problem and to help adults take responsibility to prevent the sexual abuse of children.

We provide support, information and resources to keep children safe and create healthier communities, and we provide a safe place for adults to voice questions and concerns about child sexul abuse and share information about how to create healthy, respectful boundaries within families, and recognize and respond to boundary violations before a child is harmed.

We believe that we are obligated to hold the person at-risk to harm a child responsible and accountable, and that if we know the warning signs, we can speak up to interrupt a potential sexual abuse situation.  We believe that sexual abuse is preventable when we can offer support, resources and tools to everyone who cares about a child's sexual safety.

Our efforts are guided by this understanding: to truly prevent harm to children, all adults need to accept responsibility for recognizing, acknowledging and confronting behaviors that lead to abuse.  More importantly, any long-term prevention strategy must change societal norms, so the sexual abuse of children is not tolerated and appropriate forms of help, support and accountability are provided to child victims and adult survivors, those who sexually abuse children, and the families of both.

What specifically do you do?

 

We operate the only free, confidential helpline in the United States that focuses on the prevention of child sexual abuse – helping adults get the info they need to protect a child BEFORE any harm is done. Through phone, email and on-line chat services, we provide direct help to individuals with questions or concerns about child sexual abuse.

Our website, https://www.stopitnow.org provides free resources and materials on how to keep kids safe. From creating a family safety plan, to identifying warning signs of abuse, to reporting possible abuse, we offer guidance to any adult with a concern about a child’s safety.

We offer training for youth-serving organizations, or for any audience of adults in caregiving and/or protective roles on creating safe and healthy environments for children. From webinars and community workshops to comprehensive multi-day trainings, we provide a skill-based, confidence-raising and action-planning educational experience.

We focus on how to support and build prevention practices for individuals, families and communities, including youth-serving organizations such as camps, schools and foster care programs.  Information guidance and resources are made available to professionals, parents, friends and family members, adults looking for help for their own behaviors, survivors and any adult involved in the care and well-being of children.

We partner with other national and global violence prevention programs to advocate for policies and practices that address children’s safety and share learnings from our Helpline to inform the prevention community and public about the barriers in acting protectively or seeking help.

How will this make a difference?

When given the right info, tools and resources, adults WILL take actions to prevent child sexual abuse. Reducing isolation and providing a safe place and the right resources to have difficult conversations about children’s sexual safety is the first step towards prevention. 

Here’s what some individuals who have used our resources have to say: 

“I couldn't sleep because of worry, so I got up and did an internet search and found your website. It made me cry with relief to have information on how to try to cope with the concerns I have about an extended family member and the safety of my baby daughter. Thank you.” - a mom who visited our website

“Thank you so much for responding. I didn’t know how or who to go to with this.  I am so grateful for your help and I created a safety plan with my son. I’m still scared and sad but I feel better knowing how to help my son with this...” - a mom who had questions about her son’s sexual behaviors 

“Thanks so much for this class and opportunity! I feel that the content has been richer than many (trainings) I’ve been a part of recently. I’m excited that we are realizing the importance of sharing this with providers and not having it be such a taboo topic.” – evaluation response from training participant

Continued support of our work means that adults will have a place to turn to for questions about sexual behaviors and about preventing sexual abuse.

How is your work different from that of other, similar charities?

Our organization was founded on the belief that adults are in the best position to keep children safe from sexual abuse. By adults, we mean parents, survivors, family members, law enforcement, and professionals of all types. No other prevention program has ever directly challenged all adults to take full responsibility for ending sexual abuse. 

While the warning signs of sexual abuse are becoming more widely recognized and concerned adults are more informed than ever about what to do when a child discloses abuse or shows signs of these warning signs, we know that the next steps and the next conversations that have to happen can be difficult ones, and we help people on the "how" - how to raise this topic, how to make a report, how to talk with a family member about their own behaviors, and how to raise safety concerns in schools and ther youth serving organizations.

We also believe that people who might sexually abuse a child have an important role to play in prevention. Challenging individuals to hold themselves accountable is an important and bold first step towards stopping the sexual abuse of children. While many programs exist to help survivors of sexual abuse, we focus on educating adults on how to recognize warning signs of abuse – and protect children before any harm is done.

What have you accomplished?

Stop It Now! was instrumental in getting child sexual abuse recognized as a public health issue with the CDC (Center for Disease Control), and recognizing that there are actions that adults can take that will reduce the occurrence of sexual abuse. We continue to influence national dialog on prevention through our groundbreaking work and vision. 

Currently over a million people visit the stopitnow.org website each year to access the free resources and materials on how to keep children safe from sexual abuse. The very speciaized Helpline responds to several thousand individuals annually from every state who are  requesting help with a personal situation. Stop It Now! staff train hundreds of people each year on how to set up safety plans to keep children safe and how to recognize warning signs of abuse. Our resources are offered in a variety of formats to be the most accessible to the most number of people – through the web, email, phone, chat, online and in-person trainings, training videos and written materials.

How can I be sure you’ll use my money wisely?

All money raised through the Combined Federal Campaign goes directly towards funding our Helpline and providing the free resources on our website. The Child Sex Abuse Prevention and Protection Center (Stop It Now!) operates out of a small office in Massachusetts with a small, efficient staff in order to keep overhead costs low. We are subject to a yearly audit, and abide by all state and federal charity regulations. Our current financial statement is available upon request.