Our Approach

We believe that child sexual abuse is preventable.

We believe that the best hope for preventing child sexual abuse is by enacting and strengthening the following policies and prevention efforts in our communities:

  • Promoting accurate information about sexuality and sexual abuse
  • Enhancing services to children who are victims of sex abuse
  • Providing specialized treatment programs for people at risk to or who have sexually harmed
  • Offering timely sexuality education
  • Improving our understanding of behaviors that make children vulnerable

Our efforts are guided by this understanding: to truly prevent harm to children, adults need to accept responsibility for recognizing, acknowledging, and confronting behaviors that lead to abuse.  More importantly, any long-term prevention strategy must change societal norms so the sexual abuse of children is not tolerated, and appropriate forms of help, support, and accountability are provided to child victims and adult survivors, people who sexually abuse children, and the families of both.

Our strategies, messages, materials, and services attempt to balance the rights of victims and their families with appropriate and effective accountability and help for people who harm children – over 70% of whom are other minors themselves.  Stop It Now! programs work to move beyond just addressing the impact of child sexual abuse to seek out the root causes and identify ways to prevent abuse before a child is ever harmed.

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

Public health campaigns in the past have shown that advocates can successfully demand change in our communities by challenging societal attitudes (i.e. "Friends don't let friends drive drunk"). Communities have demanded effective public policies which will promote public health (i.e. smoke-free public places). Individuals and communities also have a role to play in preventing the sexual abuse of children.

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 information about creating healthy, respectful boundaries in our families, recognizing and responding to boundary violations before a child is harmed, and promoting healthy behaviors that protect children.

We are singularly focused on child sexual abuse.

Stop It Now!’s Helpline is the only one of its kind in the United States. We respond exclusively, comprehensively and professionally to questions and concerns specific to child sexual abuse and preventing sexual harm from people who are in many diverse roles and relationships with youth, of all perspectives about all stages of prevention and intervention. 

The Helpline is a window offering a unique view into real-life stories and experiences. These are stories that are rarely, if ever, told to anyone. These are not stories heard on the news about famous people or big institutions, but the stories and concerns within families. Since opening in 1995, our more than 25,000 conversations inform all of Now!’s prevention and training efforts, as well as our research and discussions among professionals. These first-hand stories keep us current, knowledgeable, and inspired about what individuals, families, and communities are doing to keep children safe – and what they need in order to overcome the barriers to prevention. 

With our 360-degree view of the issue, we offer a perspective that no one else offers – for each and every person. We teach skills, practice conversations, and outline clear actions adults can take to protect children and prevent children, youth, and adults from sexually harming.