Child Sexual Abuse Prevention

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The Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board has prioritized child sexual abuse prevention due to its prevalence and potential long term negative health outcomes.



Child sexual abuse is a form of child maltreatment and retrospective research indicates that as many as 1 in 10 children are sexually abused before their 18th birthday. According to the Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Report for calendar year 2016, there were 5,616 reported allegations of child sexual abuse with 1,091 of the cases substantiated. The resulting 19.4% substantiation rate is the highest substantiation rate among child maltreatment types during calendar year 2016.


Child sexual abuse is also an adverse childhood experience (ACE) which tends to co-occur with other traumatic experiences in childhood. Among those who were sexually abused, 54% have 4 or more ACEs. Research establishes a strong correlation between early childhood trauma and adult physical and mental health. Individuals with 4 or more ACEs have a higher incidence of health risk behaviors and poor health outcomes in adulthood.

As part of the Prevention Board's grants program, funding is provided to build awareness of child sexual abuse prevention and coordinate training for professionals and youth-serving agencies. Through a competitive process the Prevention Board funds Awareness to Action (A2A), an initiative focused on preventing child sexual abuse by helping adults and communities take action to protect children. A component of A2A is Stewards of Children, a program scientifically proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change child-protective behaviors. Appropriate for any adult, this training will teach you how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.