Prevention Science

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 844–852 | Cite as

Parent-Focused Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse

  • Tamar MendelsonEmail author
  • Elizabeth J. Letourneau


Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a serious public health issue. Current after-the-fact approaches to treating victims and punishing offenders are not adequate to address a problem of this magnitude; development and rigorous evaluation of CSA prevention strategies are critical. We propose that CSA prevention efforts should target parents of young children. Parents have been neglected as a focus of CSA prevention; they merit attention given their potential to improve children’s safety via effective communication and monitoring. This paper provides an overview of current strategies for reducing CSA prevalence and their limitations, presents a rationale for parent-focused CSA prevention, and discusses considerations pertinent to development of an effective parent-focused approach. Parent-focused CSA prevention offers potential as a public health approach to prevention of CSA, and it is time that we devote resources toward developing and studying this important area.


Child sexual abuse Prevention Parent intervention 



Work on this paper was funded by the Moore Center for Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mental HealthJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA

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