Preventing Sexual Violence
An Educational Toolkit for Health Care Professionals

What Is Sexual Violence?
How Do I Prevent It?
Overview of Web version





  1. Understand the importance of parent-young child communication.
  2. Be able to provide specific guidance and tips to parents to encourage open communication with their young children about sexuality.
  3. Understand the effects of media (eg, gender stereotypes, portrayals of sexual violence) on children and be able to implement prevention and intervention strategies.
  4. Be able to respond to parental concerns about sexual behavior in young children.

Green Light Video

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Open communication between parents and children is a powerful method of preventing sexual violence, but knowing how to communicate with young children can be difficult. Pediatricians can provide parents with valuable tips on how to communicate with their children. By using tools such as posters and brochures, even the physical environment of the practice can support the message of open communication.


Quick reference guide
Poster English Spanish

Talking With Your Young Child About Sex English Spanish
Create a Family Safety Plan

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Although all parents are likely to be aware of the pervasiveness of media in today’s society, they may not recognize the dramatic effect media exposure can have on children. Pediatricians can help parents understand how even indirect media exposure can affect children’s developing views on sex and violence. Pediatricians can also provide parents with practical strategies to educate their children about media and limit their media use.


Sexual behaviors chart

The Internet and Your Family English Spanish
Television and Your Family English Spanish

Practice Management
Media History English Spanish

Red Light Video

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Pediatricians who are more knowledgeable about children’s sexual development and problematic sexual behavior will be better able to answer parents’ questions, allay their fears, and give them appropriate guidance on warning signs of sexual abuse. Developing collaborative relationships with other service providers in the community can also be beneficial.


Children with Sexual Behavior Problems: Common Misconceptions vs. Current Findings

Child Sexual Abuse English Spanish

Community Resources/Advocacy
The Pediatrician's Guide to Community Collaboration on Sexual Violence Prevention

Quiz Case

A 5-year-old girl and her mother are seen in your office. The mother explains that the child has been complaining of genital pain for one day, since she picked her up from the new child care yesterday afternoon. Because of recent articles the mother has read about sexual abuse, she is worried her daughter’s symptoms may indicate abuse. When you ask the child why she is there to see you today, she tells you, “My private hurts,” and grasps her genitals.

1. The most appropriate next question you should ask is

      1. “Did you fall down?”
      2. “Did someone touch you?”
      3. “What happened when your private started to hurt?”
      4. “Are you bleeding anywhere?”

The child says, “I was scratching and then it hurt when I went potty.” You examine the child and find some mild nonspecific excoriated areas but no signs of sexual abuse.

2. You take this opportunity to speak with mom about sexual violence prevention and detection. An important point to make is

      1. Children who have been sexually abused usually complain of pain or bleeding.
      2. Children usually show fear of their abuser.
      3. Sexual abuse is best prevented through good communication skills.
      4. Sexual abuse usually involves nonfamily perpetrators.