Primary prevention of child sexual abuse (Wikipedia archive)

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The primary prevention of sexual abuse consists of measures taken to prevent child sexual abuse (CSA) before it happens.[1][2][3] According to CSA researcher David Finkelhor, primary prevention differentiates itself from "tertiary" prevention, where action is taken only the harm has already been done.[4]

Proponents of primary prevention advocate that allocating resources towards preemptively preventing child sexual abuse is more efficient in the fight against CSA than investing resources into incarceration and criminal procedures.[5][2][3]

Etymology The term primary prevention of child sex abuse can be dated as far back as 1993.[6]

Other forms of prevention Traditional forms of CSA prevention are usually focused on using the Justice system as a mean to punish those who have perpetrated child sexual abuse.

Usual measures Measures related to primary prevention may include providing mental-health support to people who are attracted to minors and educating children about sex. Anonymous hotlines for people who feel attracted to children have also been used in Germany, United Kingdom and India. In Germany, hospital-based clinics to provide treatment for people who are sexually attracted to children have been funded by the goverment.[2][7]

Organizations that actively work, or have noticeably worked, on the primary prevention of CSA include: the Prevention Project Dunkelfeld (Germany)[8], the Berlin Institute of Sexology (Germany)[5], the KEM Hospital Research Centre (India)[5], Stop it Now! (United Kingdom)[9] and the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse (United States)[1].

Primary prevention campaigns In the United States The united states has very few programs related to the primary prevention of child sexual abuse.[10][1]

In 2019, the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, along with 25 youth-focused organizations, urged the United States Congress to invest $10 million into primary prevention measures. That would represent 0.001% of the money that the U.S. had spent into incarcerating child sex offenders before.[1][3]

Later, the The House Labor HHS Appropriations Committee decided to include $2 million directed to CSA prevention research in the 2020 budget.[1]

In germany Germany has made itself notable for its early investments into primary prevention measues, its first project being founded in 2005.[2]

Since 2008, the German Government has backed the Prevention Project Dunkelfeld, which includes a hospital-based clinic and an anonymous online hotline for people who are attracted to minors.[8] As of 2018, the German health ministry has invested $6 million a year into Dunkelfeld.[2]

According to its chairman, Dunkelfeld has treated thousands of people who are attracted to minors. Many of these people are from outside Germany.[2][8]

In india In 2018, 1,700 Indians with attraction to minors had taken an online test from the Programme for Primary Prevention of sexual violence (PPPSV) to evaluate their propensity to commit child sexual abuse. Those who had the highest risk were invited to a voluntary therapeutic treatment at the KEM Hospital research center.[11]

This campaign was accomplished with the help from the Berlin Institute of Sexology.[5]

According to Klaus Michael Beier, the goal of PPSV is to accomplish primary prevention measures in India by means of medical science and technology.[11]

Cooperation with government entities In the United states In 2022, the United States government had invested $2 million into the primary prevention of child sexual abuse research. That meant that, for each dollar invested into primary prevention of CSA, 2,700$ was allocated to incarceration.[1]

On the other hand, a research from the Johns Hopkins University states that the Unites States government has spent $5.4 billion to incarcerate people for child sex offenses each year.[1]

In germany The German government started backing primary prevention research in 2008. In 2018, it enacted a new wave of multi-million dollar investments into its most influential primary prevention project, Dunkelfeld.[2]


"America Has Been Going About Stopping Child Sex Abuse The Wrong Way". Time. 2023-02-15. Retrieved 2023-03-31.
Magazine, Undark (2021-06-07). "Can a Radical Treatment for Pedophilia Work Outside of Germany?". Undark Magazine. Retrieved 2023-03-31.
J. Letourneau, Elizabeth (2019-09-11). "We spend billions after child sexual abuse happens and nothing to prevent it". The Hill. Retrieved 2023-03-31.
Finkelhor, David (2009). "The prevention of childhood sexual abuse". The Future of Children. 19 (2): 169–194. doi:10.1353/foc.0.0035. ISSN 1054-8289. PMID 19719027.
"Transformation of a Paedophile". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2023-03-31.