chapter  7
Victim-focused prevention
Pages 21

In this chapter we shift our attention from prevention strategies targeting offenders and potential offenders, to those targeting victims and potential victims. Intervention with victims of CSA can occur at two points. First, as a primary or secondary prevention strategy, efforts may be directed at potential victims to minimise the chances that they will be sexually abused. To date, personal safety programmes, which seek to teach children self-protective skills, are the usual way of operationalising this strategy. Second, as a tertiary prevention strategy, interventions with known CSA victims may minimise their chances of ongoing or future abuse. This may involve facilitating the role of victims in the disclosure and prosecution of sexual abuse cases, and addressing factors that may lead to their re-victimisation in the future. We argue in this chapter that interventions with victims form a crucial part of CSA prevention. However, too often victimfocused approaches have pushed responsibility for prevention onto children. Victim-focused interventions should not be interpreted as interventions by victims. Rather, we need to consider ways that responsible adults can more effectively intervene on behalf of victims to prevent their abuse.