Youth-Serving Organizations

Youth Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practices

Child Sexual Abuse is predictable and preventable when we surround children with knowledgeable and outspoken adults and we all play a part in the solution.

Predict: is to declare or indicate in advance; especially to foretell on the basis of observation, experience, or scientific reason.(1)

There are over 39 million survivors of child sexual abuse in America.(2)

From them experts have documented time after time, behavior patterns that appear BEFORE abuse occurs. So, with the right training, we can recognize when children are in danger and put best practices in place to directly reduce the risk of abuse in our homes, neighborhoods and youth serving organizations.

Read more: Youth Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practices

Youth Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #1 - Determine Your Starting Point

Each of us has a set of past experiences that impact how we feel about the topic of child sexual abuse. Some people know someone who was abused or they may have been abused themselves. Others may struggle with an attraction to children or the thought of sexualizing a child simply destroys their sense of a safe world. These are experiences and feelings that could create a lot of discomfort. That discomfort could even keep you from seeing abuse happening right in front of you. In addition, children may sense your discomfort and therefore not see you as a trusted adult they can confide in if they do need help.

Read more: Youth Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #1 - Determine Your Starting Point

Youth Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #3 - Set, Document and Enforce Boundaries

Written boundaries are at the heart of protecting children. Without them, every day is filled with a myriad of subjective choices that are far too often hindered by our emotions, opinions, relationships, and quest for personal gain (acceptance, security, promotion, raise, etc.). When boundaries are established and documented in writing, they provide a mechanism for objective decision making that applies to everyone who comes in contact with children in your care. No exceptions!

Read more: Youth Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #3 - Set, Document and Enforce...

Youth Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #5 - Create an Accountability Team

Child sexual abuse is predictable and preventable when we surround children with knowledgeable and outspoken adults. Whether you have ever stopped to acknowledge it or not, your children are surrounded by adults...but are they knowledgeable and outspoken about child sexual abuse on behalf of your children?

Read more: Youth Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #5 - Create an Accountability Team

Youth Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #6 - Educate and Empower Children

Now that you've provided mandatory training for your staff and volunteers and invited your parents to join your accountability team, it's time to empower the children in your care. Educating and empowering children to experience a life free from sexual abuse is a multi-step process that unfolds as they mature and includes the five key components listed below. Depending on the type of programs your organization offers, you may or may not have the opportunity to engage children in all five components but at a minimum, every organization should be empowering children with the boundaries you have established.

Read more: Youth Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #6 - Educate and Empower Children

Youth Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #7 - Pre-Establish Your Response and Take Bold Action

Adopt Standards for Responding to Observed, Disclosed or Suspected Abuse
Child sexual abuse is a crime and cases should never be handled "in-house." Unfortunately through many high profile cases, we've seen the devastating impact of organizations attempting to resolve the issue internally. Victims were not validated and provided an opportunity to heal and child molesters were not held accountable for their actions and in many cases they continued to have access to children resulting in additional victims.

Read more: Youth Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #7 - Pre-Establish Your Response...

Youth Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #8 - Provide Support and Resource Referrals

20% of the population in America has been sexually abused.(8) That's more people than the Center for Disease Control estimates will get the flu each year.(9) So needless to say, as you implement the Child Sexual Abuse Best Practices program, you will be talking with children, teens and adults who have personally experienced sexual abuse as well as parents who know or suspect their child has been abused. It's also inevitable that at some point you will be speaking with someone who is attracted to children who may or may not have crossed the line and abused a child.

Read more: Youth Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #8 - Provide Support and Resource...

Youth Organizations: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practices Summary

High profile cases are bringing child sexual abuse to the forefront in a way we have never seen in the past. It is clearly a pandemic that knows no boundaries including gender, race, religion, geography or socio-economic status.

20% of our children will be sexually abused by the age of 18(8) and parents and youth serving organization leaders are who grant access to our children. You are responsible for being proactive in your efforts to protect the children in your care and recognizing signs of abuse that may be happening elsewhere. They're counting on you!


At TAALK, we understand the grooming behaviors that happen BEFORE abuse occurs and have developed this program specifically to combat those behaviors. Although there are no guarantees, this program will take your staff, volunteers, parents and children well beyond awareness and empower all of you with an extensive list of actions that will have a direct impact on the safety of the children in your care.