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Preventing Sexual Abuse and Assault

NCJ Number
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment Volume: 11 Issue: 4 Dated: October 1999 Pages: 267-278
Judith V. Becker; Daniel W. Reilly
Barry M. Maletzky
Date Published
12 pages
This article reviews the prevention of sexual abuse and sexual assault from a public health approach.
The public health approach identifies three levels of prevention: primary, secondary, and tertiary. At a primary level, the goal is to identify and stop the inappropriate sexual behavior before it begins. At a secondary level, the goal is to identify those individuals who are at risk of abusing or being abused and reduce this risk. At a tertiary level, the intervention targets are those individuals who have a history of sexually inappropriate behaviors. Several programs are reviewed in the area of primary prevention, and then the article discusses the efficacy of various prevention approaches. Information from offenders and victims is reviewed to provide insight into primary prevention approaches. A review of innovative approaches to secondary prevention is provided as well. This section focuses on changing the behavior of potential offenders rather than changing the behavior of potential victims. Special consideration is given to the role of alcohol in abuse and possible prevention strategies to reduce abuse risk by reducing high-risk alcohol use. In addressing tertiary prevention, intervention strategies and offender characteristics are reviewed. 43 references