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For Caregivers and Professionals

Stop It Now! research shows that adults are more knowledgeable about the signs in a child who has already been sexually abused than they are with early warning signs or situations that increase the risk a child will be sexually abused. If we wait to act until after a child is harmed, it’s too late. Our research also shows that when faced with a situation where they were concerned that an adult was sexually abusing a child, one in three adults surveyed did nothing. This research shows that people lack the knowledge and tools to act when they’re worried about a child.

Additionally, our research shows that adults are particularly confused about whether behaviors between older and young children or youth and children would be considered sexual abuse. This confusion often results in lack of action to set boundaries and create safe environments for children. 

Our program is based on a community responsibility model that teaches adults (both men and women) how to intervene safely and effectively when they see early warning signs of an adult or youth behaving inappropriately with a child. By translating their theory, research and practice into practical tools addressing child sexual abuse prevention, we will be contributing to the evidence base for bystander interventions.

Too often, after a child has been sexually abused, adults will say “I was worried something was going on” or “I thought something just didn’t seem right.”  Circles of Safety provides adults with the education they need to recognize early warning signs and respond responsibly before a child is harmed. This training equips adults to become active protectors of children.

Participants who complete our Circles of Safety:

  • Use the knowledge gained about warning signs and situations to define their own rules about personal space, privacy, and appropriate interactions with children;
  • Proactively communicate their boundaries to adults or older youth interacting with their children or the children in their care;
  • Speak up or intervene when they are concerned about an adult or older youth’s behavior around children; and
  • Gather allies to create a circle of safety around children.

For more information: Circles of Safety Training and Technical Assistance Menu

For information on how to bring Circles of Safety to your community or local organizaton, contact:

Jenny Coleman, Director
Email: jcoleman [at] stopitnow.org
Phone: 413-587-3501

or complete this training interest form and return to Stop It Now!