In order to prevent child sexual abuse, adults need to take greater responsibility to educate themselves on how to create safer communities where everyone is actively thinking about how to prevent children from experiencing sexual abuse.
There are many simple, effective strategies adults can use to protect children from child sexual abuse, like:
Modeling healthy touch and safe, respectful ways to interact with children.
Healthy affection and touch is protective from child sexual abuse especially with parents, caregivers and family members.
Reducing situations in which child sexual abuse can occur.
Adults have a responsibility to reduce one on one opportunities and situations when sexual abuse can occur.
Teaching children anatomically correct terms.
This promotes positive body image, self-confidence, and parent-child communication; discourages abusers; and, in the event of abuse, helps children and adults navigate the disclosure and forensic interview process.
Recognizing signs of child sexual abuse in order to intervene and react responsibly.
Understanding the signs and behaviors of children or teens, as well as adults, is an important part of prevention, but it isn’t the only thing all adults need to know to create safe communities for children to grow up free from child sexual abuse.
Facts About the Problem of Child Sexual Abuse in Colorado Today
National experts estimate that one in 10 children will be sexually abused before the age of 18.1
90% of children who experience sexual abuse know their abuser.2, 3
The number of children in Colorado experiencing sexual abuse has steadily risen over the last five years.
During this time, 27% of concerns of child sexual abuse were confirmed with the support of professionals in the child welfare and child advocacy centers and law enforcement.4
The impact of trauma at a young age can last a lifetime.
Imagine a disease that affected one in 10 U.S. citizens, a disease associated with not only immediate trauma, but a wide array of long-term consequences, including:
- substance abuse, depression, and suicide
- hypertension, heart problems, stroke, and cancer
- behavioral, psychological, and chronic physical problems
The average lifetime cost of sexual abuse per survivor is over $210,000.5
Over the last five years, thanks to Coloradans reporting concerns through the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline System 1-844-CO-4-KIDS, more than 5,400 Colorado children have been identified as having experienced sexual abuse.4 The estimated financial costs to support these children on their journey toward healing is more than $1.1 billion.
Communities keep children safe. Help Colorado reach the tipping point.
If enough people get trained to prevent child sexual abuse, together, we can reach a tipping point in Colorado where children grow up happy, healthy and safe in communities that prevent children from experiencing sexual abuse.
Be a part of reaching a tipping point to create new standards of child safety in your community.
Go Beyond the Trainings
Training adults on their collective responsibility to promote healthy child development is just one of the four recommendations identified in Creating a Colorado Where Children Grow Up Free From Sexual Abuse: An Issue Brief on the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse in Colorado. Read the full issue brief to learn about the other recommendations.
1. Townsend, C. & Rheingold, A.A. (2013). Estimating a child sexual abuse prevalence rate for practitioners: A review of child sexual abuse prevalence studies. Charleston, S.C., Darkness to Light. Retrieved from www.D2L.org.
2. Finkelhor, D. (2012). Characteristics of crimes against juveniles. Durham, NH: Crimes against Children Research Center.
3. Whealin, J. (2007-05-22). “Child Sexual Abuse”. National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, US Department of Veterans Affairs.
4. Colorado Department of Human Services, Types of Allegations of Maltreatment Report Time Period: January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2019. (2020). Retrieved from CDHSDataMatters.org https://rom.socwel.ku.edu/CO_Public/Login.aspx?H=7061.
5. Fang, X., Brown, D. S., Florence, C. S., & Mercy, J. A. (2012). The economic burden of child maltreatment in the United States and implications for prevention. Child Abuse & Neglect, 36, 156–165.