Neighborhood Partners in Prevention

Abuse thrives when good people decide it's none of their business. So PCA and our community partners made it our business to do something about it.

 

We've launched a child sexual abuse prevention project, Neighborhood Partners in Prevention, thanks to generous funding from the Connelly Foundation. We are collaborating with over a dozen like-minded child and family serving organizations to explore ways we can promote awareness and build a more comprehensive network of support for children and families – and we started in our backyard, Philadelphia’s 19124 zip code.

Project Background:

 

As the frontline responder to child sexual abuse cases in Philadelphia, PCA’s 31-year program has fundamentally changed the landscape of how Philadelphia works with this population. PCA is the principal coordinator of the collaborative response to these cases, and has enabled Philadelphia's police, child protective services, medical providers, trauma-focused therapy providers, and other systems to respond to families in crisis more effectively and efficiently. Like the majority of child welfare systems, Philadelphia’s is designed to intervene only after a disclosure of sexual abuse has been made. Experts estimate that approximately 60% of children never make a disclosure. Although child sexual abuse is preventable, many child welfare systems, including our own, are not designed to help the vast majority of sexual abuse victims by stopping abuse before it starts in the first place.

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PCA receives over 3,000 child sexual abuse referrals annually. Although sexual abuse permeates all socioeconomic groups, there has been a troubling pattern of a disproportionately high volume of reports coming out of the poorest neighborhoods in Philadelphia, with the Frankford community where PCA is located, yielding the highest number (accounting for 8% of sexual abuse incidents and recurrence reports).

PCA is now poised to expand its programming to focus on primary prevention. With initial funding from the Connelly Foundation, we have created a strong foundation for a self-sustaining, supportive, family-centered, community education, child sexual abuse prevention model.

 

For more information contact Vickie Melvin, Director of Programs, Practice and Quality Improvement at vickie@philachildrensalliance.org.

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