Child Sexual Abuse Definition, Facts, and Impacts
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared child sexual abuse a major global public health problem and a violation of human rights that leads to adverse health outcomes. (Child Sexual Abuse Declared an Epidemic, 2017) The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys will fall victim to child sexual abuse. (Child Sexual Abuse, 2022) Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is any interaction between a child and an adult (or another child) in which the child is used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or an observer. Sexual abuse can include both touching and non-touching behaviors. Non-touching behaviors can include voyeurism (trying to look at a child’s naked body), exhibitionism (exposing oneself to a child), or exposing the child to pornography. (Child Sexual Abuse, 2022) Child sexual abuse can happen to boys or girls, to children of all ages, races, ethnicities, and economic backgrounds. Child sexual abuse occurs in all kinds of neighborhoods and communities. To learn additional information about risk factors associated with child sexual abuse turn to Appendix F. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that almost one in ten students are subjected to Adult Sexual Misconduct (ASM) which encompasses a wide-ranging set of behaviors that take place in school settings, ranging from those that are inappropriate to those that are illegal, by school personnel during the course of their academic careers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that child sexual abuse can lead to long-lasting, even life-long consequences, and is a serious problem on an individual, familial and societal level. Physical health consequences for victims of child sexual abuse include sexually transmitted infections (STIs), physical injuries, and chronic conditions later in life, such as heart disease, obesity, and cancer. Mental health consequences include depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Examples of behavioral consequences include substance use/misuse, including opioid misuse, risky sexual behaviors, meaning sex with multiple partners or behaviors that could result in pregnancy or STIs, increased risk for perpetration of sexual violence, and increased risk for suicide or suicide attempts. Experiencing child sexual abuse can also increase a person’s risk for future victimization. For example, recent studies have found: Females exposed to child sexual abuse are at 2 – 13 times increased risk of sexual violence victimization in adulthood, and people who experienced child sexual abuse are at twice the risk for non-sexual intimate partner violence. (Child Sexual Abuse, 2022) One way organizations can help diminish child sexual abuse, both inside and outside of institutions, is to implement child- and adult-focused prevention education programming. Another proactive way organizations can keep children safe is to ensure policies and procedures aim to keep children safe and enforce safe environments for the children served.
ND Child Sexual Abuse
Prevention Task Force
The North Dakota Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Task Force was established in 2017. During the 2019 legislative session, the Task Force was reestablished through 2024.
In 2021, funds were appropriated to the North Dakota Department of Health in efforts to hire a Director for the Task Force. Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota (PCAND) employs the Task Force Director. The Task Force has four strategic goals and each strategic goal has an operating subcommittee. The strategic goals are listed below:
1. The Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Task Force will seek to end child sexual abuse by developing and implementing a primary prevention strategy for the state of North Dakota. 2. The Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Task Force will strengthen the support provided to children and families participating in the interview, investigation, and prosecution processes. 3. The Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Task Force will strengthen the network of trauma-informed services for children, adult survivors, and family members impacted by child sexual abuse. 4. The Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Task Force will strengthen the network of providers who support the needs and behavioral changes of offenders.
The Task Force is dedicated to developing a comprehensive statewide approach to ending child sexual abuse in North Dakota. The Task Force is comprised of various individuals across the state who are committed and experienced professionals all of whom work tirelessly in efforts to prevent child sexual abuse.
To learn more about the Task Force, please visit www.ndstopcsa.com.
Environmental Scan Data
In April of 2022, the North Dakota Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Task Force’s Primary Prevention subcommittee conducted an environmental scan regarding the processes and perspectives of the prevention of child sexual abuse in the state of North Dakota. The survey was distributed to public, private, and tribal schools. The survey was also shared with youth-serving organizations, childcare programs, and Head Start Programs. We found that over half of respondents indicated that they provide no CSA education to children. Over half of respondents indicated that they provide no CSA education to employees/volunteers. And over 80% of respondents indicated that they provide no CSA education to parents and caregivers. Sixty-four to ninety-five percent (depending on child age group) of respondents believed that providing CSA education to children is “very important”. Ninety-three percent of respondents believed that providing CSA education to teachers/coaches is “very important”. Ninety percent of respondents indicated that they believed providing CSA education to parents/caregivers is “very important”. The greatest noted barrier to providing child sexual abuse prevention education was a lack of an established curriculum. This resource guide was developed to assist with overcoming that barrier by providing information on various child sexual abuse prevention education programs for adults and children. According to the U.S. National Blueprint to End Sexual Violence Against Children and Adolescents, training is vital, however, is not enough on its own to address this very complex and critical public health program. Prevention policies when paired with training, hold the absolute best promise of reducing child sexual abuse and the heartbreaking impacts it has on victims, their families, and our communities. (Keep Kids Safe, 2021) This guide also contains recommendations and considerations for policies and procedures to keep children safe from child sexual abuse.
Resource Guide Purpose
The purpose of the North Dakota Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Resource Guide is to provide information on child sexual abuse prevention education and resources available to prevent child sexual abuse. Child sexual abuse prevention education can easily be integrated into North Dakota Health Education Content Standards (found on the Prevalence page). The North Dakota Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Task Force does not endorse any specific child sexual abuse prevention education programs/curriculums. This resource guide serves as a source of child sexual abuse prevention programs/curriculums that are widely used and some are considered evidence-based. The summaries provided were written by the program/curriculum developers. The North Dakota Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Task Force offers these as information for further investigation by childcare centers, school districts, youth-serving organizations, and/or individual schools. The list provided within this guide is not exhaustive. The Task Force welcomes suggestions/additions of programs to this list as they become available. When an entity is selecting a program to implement, many factors should be considered, such as the capacity to implement services and train facilitators to implement with fidelity to the program model, appropriateness for the population served, and individual community needs. This guide is updated annually.