Proposal for Stop it Now! Wales delivery of CSA awareness and prevention campaign
Who we are
Stop it Now! Wales is a child sexual abuse prevention project, run by the child protection charity, the Lucy Faithfull Foundation. We have a long track record of delivering effective child sexual abuse prevention and awareness activity across Wales.
Our vision is a world in which children’s right to live free from abuse and exploitation becomes reality. Our mission is to prevent the sexual abuse of children and young people by working with protective adults, those affected by abuse and those perpetrating it, including young people with harmful sexual behaviour.
We believe that protective adults can prevent child sexual abuse when they are supported with the right information and practical advice. This helps them to change their thinking and behaviour, making children in their care safer. Children and young people should not be responsible for their own protection. We therefore work to make Wales’ children, young people and communities safer by:
- disseminating accurate information about child sexual abuse and the preventative measures that adults can take to protect children from harm
- delivering child sexual abuse prevention seminars to parents and carers
- delivering safeguarding training to multi-agency professionals
- delivering early intervention prevention programmes to those who may pose a risk, as well as those who are deemed as most vulnerable.
Our work is delivered within a public health approach to prevention:-
- Primary prevention – preventing abuse before it happens; raising awareness to enable families, other protective adults, and communities to implement positive preventative actions and recognise and respond to concerns about abuse
- Secondary prevention –preventing abuse by targeting ‘at-risk’ groups; such as children with additional needs (who are three times more likely to be victimized), or single parent families
- Tertiary prevention – preventing further offending behaviour and re-victimisation after an offence has been committed; such as working with perpetrators to change their thoughts and behaviour to prevent reoffending
For primary prevention, we deliver a range of workshops to help adults keep children safe in the home, the wider community and online. These cover a range of topics including:-
- Parents Protect! – preventing child sexual abuse
- Professionals Protect!
- Preventing child sexual exploitation
- Internet safety
- Sexual development in pre- and post-pubescent children
- Implementing family safety plans
- Over the last few years we have developed additional sessions such as safety for children from abusive behaviour by their peers, and understanding additional vulnerabilities of children with additional needs.
Since 2008, through these sessions, we have engaged face-to-face with over 20,000 parents and carers as well as over 3,000 people who work with children and families. Feedback is consistently positive and there is growing demand for the sessions. We work with a variety of organisations – from small nurseries and additional need support groups to large charities such as Action for Children. Following the face-to-face engagement, participants can contact staff for further advice; seek anonymous and confidential help through our Stop it Now! Helpline; and access information online through our websites, www.parentsprotect.co.uk and www.stopitnow.org.uk.
For secondary and tertiary prevention, and in response to a demonstrated need for more in-depth work with particularly vulnerable groups, we developed our 5-week Parents Protect Plus! programme which is designed to support the most vulnerable or at risk families. This may include women who have been victim to domestic violence, or suffered abuse in their past. More recently, in response to needs expressed by our partners, we have been developing intensive one-to-one work with families identified as having very specific safeguarding needs, with the aim of designing and implementing bespoke family safety plans to safeguard against abuse. This includes families where abuse has taken place, or where disclosures or allegations have been made.
In addition, we deliver face-to-face services for families affected by the viewing and sharing of indecent images of children. This includes those arrested, typically men, to prevent further offending behaviour, but also the families of these people, who are struggling to come to terms with the actions of their loved one. This is often the wife or partner of the man arrested, but can also be parents of young people who have got into trouble online. These family members need very particular support; there are no other services for the family members whose lives have been shattered. Frequently, they are left to deal with the situation on their own, without even the confidence to talk to their family and friends about what they are going through due to the stigma associated with offences of this kind.
The difference we make
Our aim is to prevent abuse before it occurs – or from ever happening again. We work to enable parents, carers, and those who work with children and families to better protect children from sexual harm and take appropriate action if they have a concern. Children are better protected when the adults around them have the knowledge and tools to identify risk and prevent abuse from happening.
In November 2015 Cardiff University published an independent review of our work in Wales with parents, carers and practitioners. It reported that beneficiaries had improved levels of knowledge and confidence in identifying signs of abuse, potential abusers and dealing with disclosures.
Two professionals who were interviewed as part of the review said:
“I feel more confident about my understanding of it…. if we can support a parent and even if that support is just listening to them and recognising when we need to get support from an agency…. being that person that a parent can come to and say ‘I am not sure what to do’, we may not have all the answers, but we now have people in place so we can say ‘ok come and sit down, we can talk about this’….(Sarah: Parents Protect/Host)
“I certainly have discussed it with my clients’ parents, and I used the knowledge from the course, if they have any questions or concerns I think I will be more prepared to answer their questions….” (Anna: Sexual Development).
Evaluation with parents shows that they are considerably more confident about protecting children following a session – typically, participants rate their confidence at around 25% before the session – afterwards, they rate it 85% to 90%.
We propose to deliver a campaign designed to equip professionals and other frontline workers, family members and the general public to:
- Raise awareness of child sexual abuse including where the risks lie
- Recognise the signs of child sexual abuse in children including verbal and non-verbal indicators
- Recognise the warning signs an adult who has harmful intentions may display
- Take preventative measures and report concerns before a disclosure is made, acknowledging that most children do not disclose abuse
- Respond effectively and appropriately when a disclosure is made, including reporting to the relevant authorities
- Help professionals and families develop and implement family safety plans