Written by Willie Manson (Lucy Faithfull Foundation).
In October 2019 I was lucky enough to be granted a bursary to attend the SVRI Forum in Cape Town, South Africa. I was not to be presenting at the event which removed some of the pressure that I might normally feel and afforded me the fantastic opportunity to learn about research and interventions from across the world.
The networking began within a few minutes of arriving at the airport where I met colleagues who were involved in a variety of violence prevention organisations and continued unabated for the following five days.
The ECSA Project
My day job (and night job!) is with the ECSA Project (Eradicating Child Sexual Abuse) which is an international knowledge exchange project run by the Lucy Faithfull Foundation and funded by the Oak Foundation.
The initial development of the project involved engagement with practitioners from various parts of the world about activity and interventions to prevent child sexual abuse. This led to the creation of the ECSA website (https://ecsa.lucyfaithfull.org) which guides users through the stages of collecting information, gathering community support, deciding on priorities, designing and implementing interventions and evaluating outcomes. The prevention strategy is tailored to local issues and to community strengths.
It provides brief, accessible insights into the nature of child sexual abuse as well as the people and processes involved. It uses the Preventing Child Sexual Abuse model - a public health model of prevention - to demonstrate the range of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention possibilities involving: - perpetrators (and potential perpetrators), children and young people, parents and other protectors (ecological context), situations and places.
Child Sexual Abuse is Preventable not Inevitable
The theoretical underpinning of the ECSA project is that child sexual abuse is a preventable public health issue. However, the nature and dynamics of sexual abuse varies significantly between different countries, communities and situations. The sexual abuse of children is a complex social phenomenon that can best be responded to by ecologically informed interventions targeting primary, secondary and tertiary goals. The ECSA website draws on the Smallbone / Wortley model of prevention that encourages communities to first identify specific problems and issues in relation to child sexual abuse drawing on local evidence. The model then suggests ways to develop strategic responses to those issues that can be measured in terms of impact and effectiveness (Smallbone, Wortley Marshall, 2013).
ECSA Toolkit: Programmes and interventions for CSA prevention and response
The bulk of the toolkit is made up of nearly 200 example programmes and interventions from around the world. From simple books for parents to read to their children; to complex, manualised, psychological interventions for perpetrators, victims or their families. From Puppet Shows to helplines. From organisational recruitment practices to safeguarding audits. Each is described in a standardised template for users to browse with references and contact details for follow-up.
The ECSA Project is currently managed by Stop It Now! Scotland, and we continue to support and engage with partners across the world. We are currently supporting NGO partners in Bulgaria and Brazil in the development and implementation of a child sexual abuse prevention strategies in the areas where they operate.
SVRI Forum: A learning goldmine
An event such as the SVRI Forum is a goldmine of opportunity to learn from researchers and practitioners about activity that might not have come to our notice and to identify interventions that might be included on the ECSA website.
The SVRI Forum has provided an ideal platform to share innovative ideas, intervention and research but it doesn’t stop here. The Forum has also allowed me to raise awareness of ECSA and identify promising child sexual abuse prevention work which may be shared internationally through the ECSA website.
Thank you to SVRI and Oak.
Share with us the work you are doing to end CSA
Are you involved in child sexual abuse prevention work? Do you have a project or intervention that could be included? We would love to hear from you.
If you would like to discuss our ECSA project or offer your programme/intervention for inclusion, please contact us: email@example.com
Please visit https://ecsa.lucyfaithfull.org/
Willie Manson is a project manager with Stop It Now! Scotland which is part of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, UK.
[Photo by Sarah Isaacs]