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Are there evidence-based solutions to protect kids from sexual abuse?

There's lots of hand wringing and "we're trying our best, but" protestations when it comes to suggestions to better identify and ward off acts of sexual abuse toward children, of course. Tragically, after-the-fact excuses and finger pointing are all too common and sadly coupled with the reality that not enough is routinely done in a timely way to prevent horrific behavior from occurring in the first place.

That too-little-too-late helplessness commonly linked with child sexual abuse is a commonplace, say victim advocates and expert commentators on the subject matter.

Yet it is no longer a fated outcome, they add. New research has led to a reportedly deeper understanding of strategies that can be promoted and timely employed to better deter tragic instances of abuse.

There is now “a lot [that can] be done to prevent it,” says the CEO of one prominent advocacy group. And Daniela Ligiero states that her organizations wants “to showcase solutions.”

That organization is Together for Girls, a group that just last month released a report entitled “What Works to Prevent Sexual Violence Against Children.” The findings are culled from extensive research undertaken on the topic. The study is garnering accolades for its timeliness and recommendations. One subject-matter insider lauds it for its outlining of “cost-effective, evidence-based solutions to prevent sexual violence against children and adolescents.”

Readers can peruse those solutions in some detail through accessing the link provided above. The report centrally spotlights recommendations like these:

  • Age-appropriate interventions directly with child audiences
  • Similar approaches targeting adolescent bystanders who see inappropriate behavior
  • Employment of a “Safe Date” program aimed at older kids and first-time teen daters
  • Parenting programs with moms and dads
  • Mandatory background checks – always – for staffers in community groups

Ligiero says that child sexual abuse “is the single largest silent pandemic of our time.”

She and other victim advocates fervently hope that the newly espoused strategies for addressing it will be widely endorsed and employed.

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