Supporting K-12 School Communities to Prevent and Respond to Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse is devastatingly prevalent in our society, but it doesn’t have to be.

When we come together as a community, we have the power to protect children and ensure they have the resources and support they need to thrive.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 20 boys will experience sexual abuse before they turn 18.  Being sexually abused as a child is the strongest predictor for experiencing sexual violence as an adult.

Not sure where to start to meet Connecticut’s mandate for sexual violence awareness and prevention programming in schools?  Contact your local sexual assault crisis program to request prevention programming. 

Connecticut's Legislation

The Alliance’s member centers provide sexual violence prevention programming as well as training for school staff, including how to respond to disclosures of child sexual abuse.

Connecticut’s legislatively mandated Statewide K-12 Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention guidelines outline what this programming should include.

Statewide Guidelines

If you are considering using your own school staff to implement sexual violence prevention curricula for students, know that not all programs are equally effective. When deciding on what program to use, schools should consider the following:

  1. Is the program accessible and appropriate for all students? 
  2. Does the program place responsibility on adults to prevent sexual violence rather than children?
  3. Does the program take a comprehensive approach to responding to and preventing sexual abuse that includes components for parents, caregivers, and school staff?
  4. Does your school have resources and policies in place to support children who disclose? 

Awareness to Action, the Wisconsin Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Project, created a child sexual abuse prevention curricula review guide that provides a comprehensive overview of existing prevention and awareness programs.

Prevention Curricula Review

The Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence would like to highlight the Care for Kids, We Care Elementary, and SAFE-T programs, created by Prevent Child Abuse Vermont.  These programs have strong results and are currently being evaluated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Is your school successfully meeting the state mandate?  We’d love to hear more about how you are making this happen, and what the impact has been on your school and community. We would like to celebrate and uplift schools who are doing great work! 


If your school is implementing the necessary training and has solid policies in place, consider how else you can amplify the importance of consent, bodily autonomy, and healthy boundaries in your school.  

  1. Are there visuals (posters, artwork, videos, etc.) with these messages that you can display?  
  2. How else can teachers and staff reinforce these messages during lessons and activities? 
  3. How are you engaging parents and caregivers in continuing these conversations at home?

Here are some Alliance materials to get you started.

To learn more about the short-term and long-term health effects of child sexual abuse, check out these publications by The Alliance.

Nurturing Healthy Sexual Development in Kids

Sexual development is a normal part of childhood that begins at birth. Sexuality is an umbrella term that encompasses our values, attitudes, feelings, interactions, and behaviors. Sexuality may change across the lifespan, but everyone has a sexuality, including children.

Adverse Childhood Experiences

Preventing and ending child sexual abuse, and all sexual violence, is not only possible but a social and moral imperative. Children are full of opportunity, and it is our collective responsibility to nurture and facilitate positive experiences that help them realize it. Building collective resilience and responsibility to protect and support children can both prevent child sexual abuse and help children who have already experienced abuse and trauma get the support they need to heal.