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 and be able to implement prevention strategies for bullying and sexual harassment.
  2. Understand the role of the Internet in sexual violence and be able to provide guidance and tips to parents and children on Internet safety.
  3. Understand the relationship between domestic violence and sexual violence.

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The importance of open communication between parents and children should continue to be emphasized with school-aged children. The pediatrician can model communication approaches that parents can use to encourage their children to open up about school and friends. Bullying is an increasing problem that pediatricians can work to prevent during individual clinical encounters and in their communities. It is also a good idea to counsel families about cyber-bullying and Internet safety.


Quick reference guide

Bullying: It's Not OK
The Internet and Your Family English Spanish
SafetyNet Web site

Community Resources/Advocacy
HRSA Bullying Now Campaign
Guide to Community Collaboration
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

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It can be especially challenging to address bullying behaviors with the bully and his or her family. No pediatrician wants to think of his patient as a “bad kid.” It is critical to address bullying early because bullies are at high risk for poor long-term outcomes unless the bullying is stopped at an early age. Using tools such as brochures and collaborating with community partners can make it easier for pediatricians to help bullies and potential bullies.


Bullying: It's Not OK

Community Resources/Advocacy
Stop Bullying Now!
The Pediatrician's Guide to Community Collaboration on Sexual Violence Prevention

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One of the primary ways children can learn to interact with others is by watching how their parents interact with each other. Witnessing domestic violence can have profound, negative influences on children. Pediatricians should screen for domestic violence periodically because it can often take multiple times for a victim to respond openly. Also, some pediatric practices place small cards with the number of the family violence hotline in the restroom so that victims can obtain the information without jeopardizing their safety.


National Consensus Guidelines on Identifying and Responding to Domestic Violence Victimization in Health Care Settings
Identifying and Responding to Domestic Violence: Consensus Recommendations for Child and Adolescent Health

Domestic Violence Pocket/Shoe Card

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

Quiz Case

A mother visits with her 11-year-old boy, concerned about the excessive amount of time he spends on the computer. When she walks into his room she can see that he will quickly hide the screen he is viewing and act nervous. He has recently gotten in trouble at school for making a sexual comment to a classmate. She is worried he is viewing pornography and seeks your advice.

1. Which of the following is the most reasonable approach to this clinical presentation?

      1. Confront the child in front of the mother.
      2. Interview the child out of the presence of the mother.
      3. Encourage the mother to enforce strict punishment for his behavior at school.
      4. Have the mother confront the child in your presence.

The boy indicates that he likes to view MySpace and YouTube but denies any viewing of pornography. He says that he made a comment about a girl’s breasts being large to another boy and a teacher overheard the comment. He is embarrassed about the incident and says he doesn’t want to get into that kind of trouble again.

2. Your advice to the patient is

      1. Do not post any personal information about yourself while viewing these sites.
      2. His computer interests may increase his tendency to bully.
      3. His comment at school may indicate his tendency to be a sex offender.
      4. His mother is overreacting and his behavior is normal.

3. Your advice to the mother is

      1. Take away his computer for awhile as punishment for the behavior at school.
      2. Forbid him to look at MySpace and YouTube.
      3. Give him a brochure to read about sexual harassment.
      4. Place the computer in a high-traffic area of the house and install computer monitors or blockers.