Child sexual abuse (CSA) prevention programs often include a focus on increased reporting of suspected abuse, in addition to other prevention components such as helping trainees recognize suspected abusive situations. This study aimed to determine whether the Stewards of Children prevention program is associated with increased CSA reporting. Analyses examined whether rates of CSA allegations increased over time in three counties in South Carolina (SC) targeted with program dissemination efforts and whether CSA reporting trends differed between the three targeted counties and three comparison counties that did not experience substantial program dissemination. CSA allegation data were obtained by county and year for predissemination and postdissemination periods from the SC Department of Social Services. Results indicated that, for the targeted counties but not the nontargeted counties, estimated allegation rates increased significantly over time, corresponding with the onset of significant program dissemination efforts. Results also indicated significant between-groups differences in allegation trends for targeted versus nontargeted counties. These findings suggest that the Stewards prevention intervention may be associated with increased CSA allegations. However, results require replication with randomization of counties. Moreover, whether increased reporting is associated with decreased CSA incidence remains unknown.
- child sexual abuse
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology