Eradicating Child Sexual Abuse (ECSA)

The Lucy Faithfull Foundation is currently running a major project to identify effective and promising responses to child sexual abuse from around the world with the aim of helping nations implement effective strategies to protect children from sexual harm.

Child sexual abuse is estimated to impact between one in four and one in ten children worldwide. Across the globe, countries are at different stages in recognising and responding to such abuse. The 'Eradicating Child Sexual Abuse' (ECSA) project involves developing a toolkit to assist nations looking to tackle child sexual abuse to develop a considered and credible strategy for its prevention.

What this project involves

The ECSA project will draw on the expertise of practitioners, academics and frontline workers responding to child sexual abuse to help develop the toolkit for people of all nations to use when looking to address child sexual abuse. We will run an online forum, convene meetings and host conferences with a view to:

Across all our activities we will be using the ‘Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Framework’ developed by Prof Stephen Smallbone et al (1). This work is supported by Oak Foundation.

View the responses to child sexual abuse using our online presentation and directory

We have ambitious targets of collecting over 200 examples of accessible summaries of effective or promising primary, secondary and tertiary prevention responses to child sexual abuse.

To view a presentation of these, and the full list of responses being collected - visit our responses to child sexual abuse page by clicking here.

Useful Downloads

Download a Project Summary flyer

Download a Prevention Framework summary

Download an Example Project - Stop it Now! Helpline

Download an Example Project - Core Sex Offender Treatment Programme

Contact us

For more information, or to get involved, contact Media and Communications Manager, Matt Whitticase on +44 (0) 1372 847160 or mwhitticase@lucyfaithfull.org.uk.

Background

Child sexual abuse (CSA) is estimated to impact more than one in ten children worldwide. The cost to the individuals, their families and communities is immense. Over the past 30 years the more developed and high income nations (e.g. in North America, Western Europe) have developed a range of responses, typically involving criminal justice responses to perpetrators and health and social care services for victims. More recent developments in prevention have seen school-based programmes for children, public education for parents and carers as well as programmes to prompt attitude and behaviour change in men and boys.
Whilst a great deal is now understood about some aspects of CSA, other aspects are still emerging, for example abuse via the Internet.  We now have some good evidence about effective tertiary interventions with some perpetrators, some victims and some families; as well as about some primary prevention endeavours.
However, it is not clear whether such interventions would be as effective if applied in other nations or regions, due to cultural, contextual and other differences. Interventions have also, typically, developed piece-meal, without an analysis of the complex nature of the problem of CSA and differences, for example, in perpetrators and victims (age, gender, relationship, history of abuse etc).
The sharing of promising or effective practice between nations is laudable, but the application of one nation’s “solution” in a different country - in the absence of an analysis of the utility of that “solution” to the different types and circumstances of abuse in that country  -  can lead to poor policy and practice that fails to tackle the problem of CSA. Each nation needs the confidence and knowledge to develop and deploy responses suited to its own circumstances rather than to simply implement solutions created elsewhere.
The prevention of CSA, to be most effective, also requires clarity about the nature, context and dynamics of the different types of abuse – for example, the prevention of abuse by a stranger typically requires a different approach from that required to prevent abuse within the family.
(1) Smallbone et al( 2008) Preventing Child Sexual Abuse: Evidence, Policy and Practice.