National Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April 2014)


Sexual violence—including child sexual abuse—crosses all ages, genders, races, ethnicities, and economic backgrounds. According to the Child Maltreatment 2012 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau,  62,936 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in the United States in 2012—9.3 percent of the total number of reported maltreatment cases that year.  The National Sexual Violence Resource Center has designated April as National Sexual Assault Awareness month, in recognition of the widespread prevalence of sexual assault nationwide.  This April, the 2014 Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) campaign is focused on healthy sexuality and young people. Although the amount of sexual violence is alarming, there is hope for survivors.  NCTSN member Esther Deblinger, PhD, an expert in the field of child sexual abuse (and co-director of the CARES Institute) says, "There is increasing evidence that, with support from a caring adult and high-quality treatment, many children and parents effectively recover and may feel stronger and closer as a family in the aftermath of a traumatic experience."

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) is proud to observe National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and offers the resources listed below to help educate families and communities, mental health and victim services professionals, and policy makers about the profound impact that sexual violence has on men, women, and children.

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Featured NCTSN Products

  • Acquaintance Rape: Information for Parents (2009) (PDF)
    Defines acquaintance rape and discusses its frequency; offers suggestions to parents on how they can protect their children and prevent their teen from being a victim of acquaitance rape.  Also provides resources for keeping teens safe and helping teen rape victims.
  • “But Who Should I Tell?” Questions and Answers About Seeking Help After Sexual Abuse (2011) (PDF)
    A guide for children and teens that discusses whether or not to tell anyone and who to go to for help; lists other resources for support.
  • Caring for Kids: What Parents Need to Know about Sexual Abuse (2009) (PDF)
        >En Español: Cuidando a los Niños: Lo que los padres necesitan saber sobre el abuso sexual infantil (2012) (PDF)
    Provides parents and caregivers with information about supporting children who have been abused to help move past the pain.  Also includes a safety guide for teens, a survival guide for acquaintance rape victims, information on sexual development and behavior in children, advice for navigating the legal system in child sexual abuse cases, and much more. 
  • Child Sexual Abuse Fact Sheet: For Parents, Teachers, and Other Caregivers (2007) (PDF)
    Defines child sexual abuse, debunks common myths about child sexual abuse, offers suggestions on how to respond when a child discloses sexual abuse, and provides tips to help protect children from sexual abuse.
  • It’s Never Your Fault: The Truth about Sexual Abuse (2010) (PDF) 
    A guide for teens that identifies common myths about sexual assault and then presents the facts.  Includes resources for where to go for help.   
  • NCTSN Child Sexual Abuse Webinars  
    Sponsored by NCTSN's Child Sexual Abuse Committee, these presentations offer valuable information about the prevalence of child sexual abuse and its impact. Topics addressed include myths and facts about sexual abuse, impact of sexual abuse on academics, public disclosure of sexual abuse, secondary traumatic stress in those who treat victims of child sexual abuse, and personal safety education for professionals who work with children and teens.
  • Sex? Or Sexual Abuse? Respect Yourself—Know the Difference (2011) (PDF) 
    Defines sexual abuse and presents examples of red flag situations to help teens determine what is or is not sexual abuse.  Includes resources on date rape preventions and survival.
  • The Promise of Trauma-Focused Therapy for Childhood Sexual Abuse (2007) (Video)
    A video that deals with the impact of child sexual abuse, the importance of including parents/caretakers in treatment, and the need for children in therapy to learn skills to deal with what has happened to them and to talk about the details of their sexually abusive experiences. Primarily geared to those who refer sexually abused children to therapists; also useful for parents and caretakers of sexually abused children and therapists who treat sexually abused children.
  • Questions and Answers about Child Sexual Abuse (2007) (PDF)
    A Q&A with NCTSN member Esther Deblinger, PhD, an expert on child sexual abuse and co-director of the CARES Institute.
  • Questions and Answers about Child Sexual Abuse Treatment (2007) (PDF)
    A Q&A with NCTSN member Judith A. Cohen, MD, an expert on child sexual abuse and medical director of the Center for Traumatic Stress in Children & Adolescents at Allegheny General Hospital. 


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For Families and Communities

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Injury and Violence Prevention and Control

  • Sexual Violence: Facts At A Glance (2012) (PDF)
    Provides statistics on sexual violence experienced by adults, youth, and children; on the prevalence of sexual assault prevalence among specific populations; on the prevalence of assault-related injuries; and on perpetrators.
  • Understanding Sexual Violence Fact Sheet (2012) (PDF)
    Describes what sexual violence is, why it is a problem, who is at risk, and how to prevent it; includes resources for more information.

National Center for PTSD

  • Child Sexual Abuse
    Defines child sexual abuse and its effects, provides facts on abusers, and recommends books on the subject.  Offers suggestions to caregivers on what to do if they suspect sexual abuse and on how to help keep children safe from sexual abuse.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center
An information and resource center on all aspects of sexual violence.

Office on Women's Health and

Stop it Now! Together We Can Prevent the Sexual Abuse of Children
A nonprofit organization that helps prevent the sexual abuse of children by mobilizing adults, families, and communities to take actions that protect children before they are harmed.


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For Mental Health and Victim Services Professionals

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Crime Victims Research & Treatment Center

  • Child Physical and Sexual Abuse: Guidelines for Treatment (2004) (PDF)
    Presents guidelines that were developed through a collaboration between the National Crime Victims Research & Treatment Center, the Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress, and the Office for Victims of Crime.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center
An information and resource center on all aspects of sexual violence.

Office for Victims of Crime


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For Policy Makers

National Alliance to End Sexual Violence
"An organization that helps ensure that services are available for sexual violence victims; and advance[s] and strengthen[s] public policy on behalf of state coalitions, individuals, and other entities working to end sexual violence.”

National Sexual Violence Resource Center
An information and resource center on all aspects of sexual violence.


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