Friday, August 28, 2009

Sue Scheff: Help stop the sexual abuse of children

Our Mission
Stop It Now! prevents the sexual abuse of children by mobilizing adults, families and communities to take actions that protect children before they are harmed.

Our Vision
Adults engage in respectful, caring behavior with children and other adults to create safe, stable and nurturing relationships for all children. Children grow up free of trauma from any form of violence including sexual abuse and exploitation.

Our Philosophy
Stop It Now! was founded on the belief that adults are in the best position to keep children safe from sexual abuse. By adults, we mean parents, survivors, family members, law enforcement, and professionals of all types. We also believe that people who might sexually abuse a child have an important role to play in prevention. No other prevention program has ever directly challenged all adults to take full responsibility for ending sexual abuse.

Challenging individuals to hold themselves accountable is an important and bold first step towards stopping the sexual abuse of children. But it is not enough. We must broaden the notion of adult responsibility to inspire families and communities to push for a corresponding change in societal attitudes and government policies. As a society, we can’t identify effective solutions until we have the courage to face the real problem—people we care about who have lost control.

Our Approach
Stop It Now! relies on the public health model to create programming. Using a combination of research-based public education materials and social marketing campaigns, we seek to change the social climate and foster the prevention of child sexual abuse.

In past public health campaigns, advocates have successfully demanded change in our communities by challenging societal attitudes ("friends don't let friends drive drunk"). Communities have demanded effective public policies which will promote the public health (regulations which prevent smoking in public places). Individuals and communities also have a role to play in preventing the sexual abuse of children.

We believe that sexual abuse of children is preventable. We believe that the best hope for preventing child abuse is by enacting the following policies in our communities:

•Promoting accurate information
•Enhancing services to children who are victims of sex abuse
•Providing specialized treatment programs for sex offenders
•Offering timely sexuality education
•Improving our understanding of behaviors that make children vulnerable
Using the results of interviews and focus groups with survivors, people who have abused children in the past, and the family members of both, we have been developing:

•Sharply focused prevention education materials
•Media messages
•Training tools
•Community-based program strategies
These tools are designed to motivate and support adults to step forward, to speak up, and take action to protect children. With the help of all adults, we have been working to identify, refine and share ways that adults and communities can effectively intervene to protect children and get help for everyone involved.

Stop It Now! has established community-based programs across the US. Together with our sister organization, in the UK & Ireland, Stop It Now! successfully tested the idea that adults will act to prevent the sexual abuse of children IF they have accurate and balanced information, practical resources – and access to support.

Stop It Now! provides a place for adults to voice questions and concerns about child sexual abuse and gives them and their communities the resources to take action. This includes sharing nformation about setting standards for respectful behavior in our families, with friends and in our communities that promote healthy behaviors that protect children.

Follow StopItNow on Twitter @StopItNow

No comments: