Best Prevention for Child Sexual Abuse is Open Communication

Nonprofit Launches #KeepKidsSafe Campaign to Get Families Talking

Jump to the #KeepKidsSafe press kit.

SEATTLE—The statistics are hard to believe. New research suggests that approximately 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 20 boys report experiencing childhood sexual abuse before the age of 18.1 “Child sexual abuse is pervasive, but hidden,” says Joan Cole Duffell, Executive Director of Seattle-based nonprofit Committee for Children. “Yet research shows that the best way to protect children from sexual abuse is to bring it out of the shadows. If we can break the taboo of talking about it, we will take away the offenders’ best defense: secrecy.” Toward that end, Committee for Children is launching a six-week campaign this week called #KeepKidsSafe to:

Keep Kids Safe
  • Educate parents and caregivers about the importance of starting conversations with their children about sexual abuse
  • Model how to start those conversations
  • Encourage people to share what they learn with everyone they know

A series of short videos, articles, and online resources will be available to the public for free at For 35 years, Committee for Children has been researching how to protect children and promote their well-being. “We’ve learned that people have a hard time talking about child sexual abuse, so much so that it is vastly unreported—and yet mental health and child protection professionals agree that it’s common and represents a serious national problem,” says Duffell. “This campaign helps parents see that this is a basic safety conversation, not a discussion about sexuality.  We want to make it easier for people to talk with their kids in a straightforward way—just like we talk about safely crossing the street or the importance of wearing a bike helmet.”

Director of the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes against Children Research Center David Finkelhor, Ph.D., who has been studying child victimization, child maltreatment, and family violence since 1977, says, “Many people fear that talking about child sexual abuse might unnecessarily frighten children, but research suggests that’s not the case.” He says some evaluation research indicates that children who are informed about child sexual abuse may be more likely to identify dangerous situations, refuse an abuser’s approach, summon help, and disclose victimization attempts.

Just as public awareness campaigns helped to educate people and make it okay to talk about breast cancer, prostate cancer, and AIDS, Committee for Children hopes to educate people about child sexual abuse and how to prevent it so that, together, we can #KeepKidsSafe.

1Finkelhor, D., Shattuck, A., Turner, H. A., & Hamby, S. L. (2014). The lifetime prevalence of child sexual abuse and sexual assault assessed in late adolescence. Journal of Adolescent Health, 55(3), 329–333.

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About Committee for Children

Seattle-based nonprofit Committee for Children’s research-based educational programs, including the award-winning Second Step program, teach social-emotional skills to prevent bullying, violence, and abuse and improve academics. Their curricula are used in over 26,000 schools across the United States and around the world. To learn more, go to


#KeepKidsSafe Press Kit (Download .zip file)


Keep Kids Safe Video Playlist (Download as a Word document)

Not Our Kids

Protecting your child from sexual abuse may seem difficult and scary. But the more you know about how abusers manipulate children and their families and about how to talk with your children, the better chance you have of protecting them. This video introduces the problem of—and the solutions to—child sexual abuse. Embed code:

What if It’s Someone You Know?

To protect your child from abusers, you need to know how they manipulate kids into keeping secrets and how they manipulate you into trusting them. Research shows that the best way to prevent this is to really listen to your child and build trust and openness between you. This video shows the simple but powerful message you can give to your child: “Tell me. I’ll believe you.” Embed code:

How to Talk with Kids about Sexual Abuse

Research shows that talking to your kids about touching safety is the best way to keep them safe from sexual abuse. Yes, it can be uncomfortable and awkward. But you can do it—just like you talk to them about avoiding drugs or wearing a helmet. This video will show you how. Embed code:

This Can Happen in Any Family

None of us ever wants to hear that our child has been sexually abused. But if they have, the most important thing we can do is believe them—and then get help. This video can help you learn how to make it safe for your children to tell you what is happening to them. Embed code:

Kids Talk About Their Bodies (KCSARC)

There are things all parents need to teach their children to keep them safe from abusers, such as the names of their private parts and rules about who can see or touch them—and children don’t mind talking about it! This video will show you just how normal these conversations can be. Embed code:


Press Release (.doc)


Committee for Children logo print (.jpg)

Committee for Children logo web (.png)


#KeepKidsSafe Campaign Social Media Handles and Suggested Posts (Download as a Word document)


Facebook: /cfchildren

Twitter: @cfchildren

YouTube: /CfChildren

Campaign hashtag: #KeepKidsSafe

Campaign landing page:


Suggested Facebook post (tag us: cfchildren)

What’s the best way to protect children from sexual abuse? Talk to them about it. Even if it’s uncomfortable.
These short videos from Committee for Children show you how. Together, we can keep kids safe from abuse.
Please share! #KeepKidsSafe

Suggested Tweet

Protect kids from sexual abuse by talking to them about it. Here’s how: via @cfchildren. Please share! #KeepKidsSafe