Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Efforts in Colorado Issue Brief & Recommendations
It is estimated that 1 in 10 children are sexually abused before their 18th birthday. Without significant investments in prevention, this translates to approximately 6,000 of the babies born in Colorado this year experiencing sexual abuse before they turn 18, according to a recent study by Illuminate Colorado and the Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Coalition.
The Colorado Children’s Trust Fund requested this research to help direct future investments aimed at preventing child sexual abuse across the state. Illuminate Colorado conducted a child sexual abuse prevention scan and the Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Coalition met several times to discuss data, existing strategies and programs, best practices from research and then made recommendations on future actions that could be acted upon in Colorado to prevent child sexual abuse.
Analysis of incidence rates revealed that some areas of the state are dealing with this issue more than others. The rates were developed by averaging incidence rate by county over a three year period. This was done to account for the fact that counties with small population sizes might vacillate from year to year between having no cases to having several. Though this measure is not perfect and child sexual abuse is underreported, this proxy measure still gives a picture of where prevention services might be needed the most.
Recommendations to advance Colorado’s child sexual abuse prevention efforts include:
- Establish a shared understanding of child sexual abuse in Colorado.
- Improve adult understanding of healthy development of children.
- Expand best practice, trauma-informed, culturally responsive child and youth sexual abuse prevention programs.
- Implement policies to amplify child sexual abuse prevention efforts in Colorado.
The hope is that by sharing this information widely with county and community partners it will help raise awareness and build will among funders to support additional efforts in communities hit hardest.