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Their Children’s First Educators: Parents’ Views About Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Education

Abstract

In this descriptive focus group study, we investigated parents’ views about child sexual abuse prevention education at home and in schools. Focus groups were conducted with a sample of 30 Australian adults who identified as the parent or caregiver of a child/children aged 0–5 years. The study explored (1) parents’ knowledge about child sexual abuse prevention, (2) the child sexual abuse prevention messages they provided to their children and the topics they discussed, (3) their attitudes towards child sexual abuse prevention education in schools, and (4) their preferences for content. Data analysis provided seven key themes in these four areas: knowledge (the inadequacy of their own prevention education; and how important is stranger danger now?); messages (bodies, touching, and relationships; the role of protective adults; and parent–child communication); attitudes (voice and choice); and preferences (not the nitty gritty, just the basics). The findings may be useful in assisting school authorities and providers of child sexual abuse prevention programs to better understand parents’ contributions to child sexual abuse prevention education, and their perspectives in relation to provision of school-based prevention programs.

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Correspondence to Kerryann Walsh.

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Walsh, K., Brandon, L. Their Children’s First Educators: Parents’ Views About Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Education. J Child Fam Stud 21, 734–746 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-011-9526-4

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Keywords

  • Child sexual abuse prevention
  • Parent–child communication
  • Parents
  • Sexuality education
  • Focus groups