Stop It Now chosen as part of flagship global research project

30 May 2024

How do we know how best to prevent child sexual abuse?

That’s the question at the heart of a new project that will evaluate 7 prevention programmes from around the world. Stop It Now UK and Ireland is one of them.

Researchers at two prestigious institutions have just launched Prevention Global, an ambitious research initiative and unique online resource hub that will showcase effective approaches to the prevention of child sexual abuse perpetration.

The online resource hub aims to be a key piece of infrastructure supporting child protection worldwide. It provides a one-stop-shop featuring insights, interventions, and key organisations.

The Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and The Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research are leading the work. Stop It Now was selected for evaluation after showing encouraging signs of effectiveness as well as potential for scale, translation and adaptation.

“This is fantastic news for child protection because people we help and those working in the sector need to have access to resources that work, and that have been shown to work,” said Deborah Denis, our CEO. “Our Stop It Now helpline has supported more than 75,000 people over the years and our online self-directed intervention has hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. While they’ve both had positive independent evaluations before, the focus of this research will generate new insights into the impact we have on preventing harm from occurring in the first place. We’re looking forward to working with all the partners involved.”

A global effort

For Prevention Global’s leaders, the acceleration of efforts to develop effective perpetration prevention programmes in recent years has been striking. Prevention Global itself is a result of a $10.3 million investment by the Oak Foundation, one of the world’s largest child sexual abuse prevention research investments.

“This investment in perpetrator prevention interventions is such a significant step and the global scope is key,” said Deborah. “It’s a project that can break new ground in how we understand what helps keep children safe and we’re thrilled to have been one of the 7 selected in the world and to be able to help assess and build a stronger evidence base.”

Moore Center Director Elizabeth Letourneau, PhD has for 36 years led work on child sexual abuse prevention, practice, and policy. She observes a huge opportunity for progress in prevention that now lies ahead.

“When we launched the Moore Center in 2012, there was one child sexual abuse perpetration prevention intervention in the world,” she said. “There are now dozens, though most have not been rigorously evaluated. As a direct result of Oak Foundation’s investment, we will soon have an explosion of data to inform critical questions about what works and what needs work when it comes to effectively preventing child sexual abuse perpetration.”

The Royal’s Dr Michael Seto is a psychologist and research leader specializing in sexual behaviors. He sees evidence and advocacy as essential in engaging wider society to champion perpetration prevention.

“It is exciting to see perpetration prevention gain traction as part of a comprehensive response to child sexual abuse,” he said. “There has been a huge increase in new interventions in the past decade, but the public, policymakers, and survivors and their advocates need to be sure that these interventions work. We will be able to carry out high quality evaluations to generate evidence that will support the growth of these programs and move us closer to the goal of eliminating child sexual abuse.”

Looking to the future

It is a stark reality that all the final seven programs, and the vast majority of the 40 assessed by Prevention Global, are delivered in the Global North. For prevention to be truly global, considerations of scale, translation, and adaptation in different economic and socio-political environments are crucial. Translation and adaptation will be central to Prevention Global’s future; using the foundation of impact evaluations to support programme design, delivery, and evaluation around the world.

Find out more

Stop It Now UK and Ireland: our helpline and online self-directed intervention.

Use our Eradicating Child Sexual Abuse toolkit to find resources that can help protect children in your area or setting.

Want to support our work to prevent child sexual abuse? Donate now.

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