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Although program evaluations demonstrate short-term knowledge gain, they fail to establish a link between such knowledge gain and the prevention of child sexual abuse.The lack of conclusive outcomes does not necessarily mean that such programs are ineffective.
A powerful public education message must be transmitted to the general public, encouraging society to recognize that child sexual abuse is both everyone’s problem and responsibility.
The goal of such public education efforts is to eliminate any tolerance for sexual abuse or confusion over what society condones as appropriate interactions between adults and children.
Many experts are concerned that even when children retain the knowledge acquired through child sexual abuse prevention programs, such children are incapable of resisting abusive behavior directed at them by older and stronger offenders.
Adults must exercise an affirmative obligation to safeguard children from sexual abuse.
All adults and adolescents need to know that child sexual abuse is a crime that often causes severe damage to children, that help is available for those who seek it, and that children can never consent to sexual activity.
Further, a comprehensive prevention strategy should include increasing parents’ and other caregivers’ awareness and knowledge of protective measures they can take on behalf of their children.
Both systems address child sexual abuse only after the abuse has already occurred.
Moreover, both are concerned with dispensing justice rather than preventing child sexual abuse.
Rather, demonstrating effectiveness is a challenging task, mainly because of the methodological shortcomings of existing evaluations.
Such limitations include the absence of comparison groups, lack of pre-testing on measures of knowledge and skills, inadequate follow-up periods, and small sample size.