9. Prevention

The prevention of child sexual abuse within schools involves an educational approach. Teachers can play an important role in prevention and can help build student’ skills and knowledge which can protect them against the risks of child sexual abuse.

For instance, in Helena’s story, we can see how the class on sexuality and reproduction education helped her to understand her own abusive situation and see it as an unhealthy and uncommon behaviour.

It is important to establish a framework which provides children and young people with appropriate sex education, and promotes healthy sexual behaviours and relationships. There are specialised organizations on child sexual abuse at a European level that have developed several prevention resources, programmes and materials which are suitable for different age groups. We encourage you to check out the following European webpage which has many appropriate resources. You can also do your own research on other resources available in your own country:

Take a look at the “Resources section” on this suggested webpage – you may find some of the material useful.


If you work with younger children, you can also watch this video:


How could you improve the prevention of child sexual abuse in your classroom and school? What could you improve or include in your day-to-day work which could help to develop a positive and effective prevention and protection framework for your school and in your classroom?

Here are some comments and ideas from people who have already taken this course:

You can also find some comments from people who have experienced sexual victimisation in childhood and very bravely told us what they would have liked from their school:

Well, they could have bonded with people who were in the school, you know… (…) Because even if they do not know what your problem is, at least they can put the hand on your shoulder and say “hey, you are having a hard day, aren’t you?” That is it. Even if you don’t feel like disclosing right away, you have taken the first step. Because when I was a child I did not know I was entitled to have a bad day or that someone cared if I felt bad…

When I started in a new religious school everything was very “girly”, very steady. I had a hard time with that. I felt like an outsider because I loved to jump and play (…) I spent many days without playing, the whole breaktime trying not to cry. Sometimes I felt the tears coming to my eyes and I felt really lonely. And I don’t remember anyone ever coming to ask me… or to assist. This “emotional silence”,  nobody came to check why I was not playing or why I was sad. In the end, the reason doesn’t matter, because if nobody cares that you are sad they are not going to be able to provide you with support, whether your problem is sexual abuse or something else…

I remember one day I was in line and alone at last… I could not hold the tears back and I started crying. While going into class, my teacher stopped me and asked me: “What’s the matter?” I said “Nothing, nothing”. “Are you having problems at home? Are your parents angry at you? Have you been grounded?” I replied “no, no”. And he left me… Everything would have changed if instead of asking me in front of everybody, all the kids going by, the teachers… If he would have called me into his office or waited until the end of the class and asked (…) directly asked, asked if I was being abused because no one ever asks you that. It is very simple and if someone would have just asked me I would have told him everything… I don’t know if they had a protocol or what would have happened, but I am sure that everything would have changed.

It is true that in high school my mother was told that I was playing truant, but that is it. My mother freaked out and she reprimanded me. We moved from Barcelona to Granada to change the environment(…) But from high school on they did not ask if something was going on beneath that behavior. Like why is she doing this? Do you have any idea? Is something going on?