CDC has identified gaps in research and practice that are important to address in our efforts to promote primary prevention of child sexual abuse (CSA). Additional efforts in CSA prevention are needed to:
- Improve surveillance systems and data collection for monitoring CSA
- Increase our understanding of risk and protective factors for CSA perpetration and victimization
- Strengthen existing and develop new evidence-based policies, programs, and practices for the primary prevention of CSA
- Increase dissemination and implementation of evidence-based strategies for CSA prevention
RFA-CE-20-005: Rigorously Evaluating Approaches to Prevent Adult-Perpetrated Child Sex Abuse
This funding opportunity is to support the rigorous evaluation of an approach (program, policy, or practice) for the primary prevention of adult-perpetrated CSA that addresses one of the following three research priorities:
- Existing approaches for the primary prevention of adult-perpetrated CSA that have not yet been rigorously evaluated and shown to be effective
- Existing evidence-based approaches that have empirical evidence of effectiveness in reducing other forms of violence but have not been rigorously evaluated for their effectiveness in the primary prevention of adult-perpetrated CSA.
- Community- or societal-level approaches that address the primary prevention of adult-perpetrated CSA but have not been rigorously evaluated for their effectiveness
In September 2020, CDC awarded a total of $766,367 to two awardees. The awardees will be funded for four years. The recipients are:
Principal Investigator: Dr. Elizabeth Letourneau, Johns Hopkins University
Primary prevention of CSA perpetrated by adults is a significant public health objective with limited available research evidence. This project will evaluate the Help Wanted Prevention Intervention, a theoretically and empirically informed online approach addressing adult men with sexual interest in children. The intervention includes an introductory welcome page, five training sessions that deliver core intervention content, and a resources page that provides links to external sources of support. It seeks to prevent CSA perpetration and provide help-seekers with tools to better support their well-being. Through a randomized controlled trial, the project team will evaluate the effects of Help Wanted on men’s perpetration behaviors, grooming behaviors, proclivity to perpetrate, and engagement with help-seeking to stop perpetration; examine psychosocial stressors as potential mediators and moderators; and refine the intervention using study findings. This is the first project to rigorously evaluate an online, prevention intervention for adults with sexual interest in children.
Principal Investigator: Dr. Charol Shakeshaft, Virginia Commonwealth University
CSA perpetrated by school employees is an overlooked public health issue with a lack of rigorously evaluated interventions to reduce child victimization. This study will evaluate Praesidium’s Armatus® Learn to Protect program, a program focused on the prevention of school employee-perpetrated CSA, misconduct, and exploitation of students. The intervention educates adults about enforcing school policies, monitoring staff, hiring and screening new employees, and addressing sexual and physical boundary crossing. The multisite, randomized controlled trial will include 95 school districts and examine official records and self-reports of school employee CSA and boundary-crossing behaviors as primary outcomes. Results of this study will provide the first rigorous evidence for a prevention program focused on school employee-perpetrated CSA of students.