The complex nature of sexual abuse of minor in our society requires broad-based preventative approaches with multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural considerations. Such prevention efforts must include many different stakeholders from the grassroots up to legislative action.
One way to address the problem of sexual abuse is through primary prevention approaches that aim to prevent sexual abuse before it happens by addressing the environmental factors and societal norms that contribute to the occurrence of sexual abuse. Primary prevention approaches to sexual abuse of minors promotes safe, healthy environments and behaviors, reducing the likelihood of sexual abuse of minors.
Lyles, Cohen, & Brown (2009) in their policy brief, outlined a primary prevention approach with a special focus on effecting change by influencing policies and altering organizational practices as well as the emerging environmental challenges and specific norms that contribute to sexual abuse of minors.
Since there is no single individual or sector that can adequately address the problem of sexual abuse of minors, Lyles, et al (2009), suggest a framework for a comprehensive strategy across the Spectrum of Prevention to transform environments so all children can thrive in safe and supportive communities. The suggested spectrum of Prevention include:
Influencing policy & legislation
Changing organizational practices by fostering coalitions & networks
Education providers such as schools and teachers
Promoting community education
Strengthening individual knowledge & skills
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Lyles, A. Cohen, L. and Brown, M. (2009). Transforming Communities to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation: A Primary Prevention Approach.