The Stop It Now! USA Circles of Safety Program
A programme supporting organisations to imbed the prevention of the sexual abuse of children into their ongoing work.
Type of intervention
Classroom setting, group work
Target groups, level of prevention and subgroups
- Situations/Places | Schools and other organisations working with children and young people | Classroom setting, group work | English
The Circles of Safety© program supports organizations to imbed the prevention of sexual abuse of children into their ongoing work. Organizations/institutions serving children and youth are the primary audience for this program. Stop It Now! focuses on adults and calls on them to be accountable and take responsibility for safeguarding children.
Stop It Now! is a USA based non-governmental organisation working nationally and internationally to prevent the sexual victimization of children since 1992. Stop It Now! works across the spectrum of prevention and at all levels.
Mode and context of delivery
The Circles of Safety© program is delivered onsite to the contracting organization. Organizations/institutions implementing the program include higher education, sexual violence prevention and child abuse prevention. Stop It Now! engages administrative decision makers to commit to the implementation of Circles of Safety © and deliver training to cross disciplinary teams.
Level/nature of staff expertise required
Circles of Safety© trainers have a postgraduate (Masters) degree in related fields and are specially trained to deliver the curriculum.
Intensity/extent of engagement with target group(s)
The Circles of Safety© program has an initial engagement period, followed by the two day training and consultative coaching supporting implementation of the team action plan.
Description of intervention
The Circles of Safety© program supports organizations to imbed the prevention of sexual abuse of children into their ongoing work. At the heart of the program is two days training designed to empower participants to become confident and comfortable with taking preventive action and working together as a team to create a culture of prevention within their organization.
The modules included in the two day training are:
- How to Speak Up and Keep Children Safe from Sexual Abuse
- Recognizing and Responding to Children’s Sexual Behavior
- Recognizing and Responding to Adults’ Behavior
- Fostering a Culture of Prevention in Your Organization
- Team Action Planning
Having a core group of engaged individuals, trained and supported to be the ‘go to’ people on preventing sexual victimization of children, sets in motion the creation of a culture of prevention, as information is shared with other staff, the leadership of the organization and the broader community. Prevention minded strategies, policies and practices also enhance the reputation of the organization by signaling to parents and caregivers a commitment to child safety.
In advance of the training, participant organizations are provided a toolkit to assist with preparing their team. The training focuses on individual empowerment on day one and team-building and action planning on day two. Each team returns to their organization with an action plan and supportive materials to begin their prevention work.
Key outcomes for participant organization:
- Prevention is routine
- Proactive policies and procedures are in place
- Prevention tools and strategies are imbedded into institutional culture
The Circles of Safety© program includes:
- Pre-training orientation to the program and preparation for organizing the team
- Two day training delivered by two trainers
- Follow-up consultation in the form of coaching sessions, which supports implementation
The training is backed up by the Stop It Now! suite of support services which include the Helpline Services program, web-based prevention tools, specialized curriculum materials and customized consultation.
Participation is voluntary, as schools opt to have the programme delivered and to give parents/carers the opportunity to withdraw their child/ren from the programme.
With the stated goal of bystander mobilization, Stop It Now! and Prevention Innovations Research Center of the University of New Hampshire are collaborating to evaluate the Stop It Now! Circles of Safety© curriculum. Preliminary evaluation results show statistically significant positive outcomes reported by training participants on a number of knowledge and attitude changes. Results of behavior changes are expected in the late spring of 2015.
Stop It Now! Circles of Safety© details and evaluation information as it is available can be found at http://www.stopitnow.org/circles-of-safety.
Deborah Donovan Rice
INFORMATION CORRECT AT NOVEMBER 2020