This is the 10th of

10 conversations

about preventing

child sexual abuse.










Reporting suspected child sexual abuse is everyone's responsibility - whether a mandated reporter or private citizen. If you suspect a child has been sexually abused, contact your local child protective services. To locate the child protective services reporting number in your state, as well as other resources, call Childhelp at



















Thank you for your commitment to

protecting children.




































© 2011, Massachusetts Citizens for Children Inc.


Permission to copy, disseminate or otherwise use information from this report is granted as long as Enough Abuse Campaign/Massachusetts Citizens for Children is identified as the source. 


Ever wonder what other people are thinking and saying about child sexual abuse?  We had the same thought so in 2003 the Enough Abuse Campaign, at that time a newly established effort in Massachusetts, conducted a statewide public opinion poll to help understand the public’s level of concern and knowledge about the problem. We hoped the results would help us develop an effective set of strategies to prevent it.


We were not disappointed.  An overwhelming majority of those surveyed identified child sexual abuse as a serious or very serious problem in our state. Importantly, nearly half said they would participate in local community educational programs to learn more about it.  That feedback provided the impetus for the Campaign’s development of a comprehensive educational program that would break the silence, shame, and confusion about child sexual abuse and encourage dialogue and action to prevent it.   


In 2007, we completed our second statewide public opinion survey of Massachusetts’s residents on the topic.  A total of 650 telephone surveys were conducted by MC Squared Consulting. Statewide interviews were completed with 350 randomly selected Massachusetts residents over 18 years of age; 300 were completed in three selected areas of the state where the Enough Abuse Campaign had been implemented at the time – the North Quabbin region, Gloucester, and Newton.


Key Results

  • 8 out of 10 residents believe child sexual abuse is a serious problem in the Commonwealth; more than 3 out of 4 citizens believe it is preventable.
  • Respondents believe that children are most at risk from abuse by adult family members (58.2%), adult non-family members, friends and neighbors (31.7%), adult strangers (3.4%), and another child or teen (1.2%).
  • 93% believe adults and communities rather than children should take prime responsibility for preventing child sexual abuse. This is up from 70% who believed this in the first Enough Abuse Campaign survey conducted in 2003.
  • 64% of citizens surveyed said they would be willing to participate in local trainings to learn more about child sexual abuse and how to prevent it; this is up significantly from 48% in the 2003 survey.
  • 50% of those surveyed ranked protection from child abuse, including child sexual abuse, as the most important to a child’s well being; quality education and quality medical care were ranked next at 20% and 15% respectively. Economic security and quality childcare were ranked last at 7% and 1.5%.
  • 36.6% said that any state funds allocated to combat child sexual should first be spent to educate adults and communities about how they can prevent the problem; better police and child protective service investigations was ranked the second priority at 35.4%; more publicity about the Sexual Offender Registry was ranked next at 20.5%. Only 7.5% rated more treatment for convicted sex_offenders as a priority.

Since then thousands of parents, youth, teachers, child care workers, clinicians, social workers, and other youth-serving professionals in Massachusetts have participated in free community workshops and presentations conducted by local volunteers trained by the Campaign.  Feedback has been consistently good.

  • 95% said that the trainings helped them identify problem or abusive behaviors in adults;
  • 94% said they learned how to assess unhealthy sexual behaviors in children and to respond in clear and non-shaming ways to address them;
  • 95% learned where to go or who to talk to if they suspect someone is sexually abusing;
  • 98% would recommend the training to others.

The Enough Abuse Campaign has made progress on many fronts. Since its launch in late 2002 when it was awarded a grant by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to build adult and community responsibility for preventing child sexual abuse, the Campaign has:

  • Assessed public opinion
  • Organized for community change
  • Educated adults and professionals
  • Tested our model
  • Documented success
  • Expanded into new Massachusetts communities, and
  • Been adopted in new states including New Jersey, Maryland, New York and California

Our task now is to “Build the Movement” by educating and enlisting concerned citizens and communities all across our states. As a member of the Enough Abuse Campaign, you are an integral part of that movement. Through your involvement, you are helping take the public’s belief about child sexual abuse and transforming it into a tangible and achievable plan of action by:

  • Educating those you know about the nature and scope of the epidemic and equipping them with useful and specific skills to confront it;
  • Communicating to others key prevention messages they can share with their children to strengthen parent/child bonds and reduce the risk that children will be targeted for abuse;
  • Advocating for prevention trainings and policies for a wide range of youth-serving organizations and groups that can protect children by strengthening the circle of safety around them so they can go about their job of “just being kids.”


Look for our next email soon. 

In the meantime, thanks again for

all your efforts to keep children safe

and your community strong!