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Increasing Child Serving Professionals' Awareness and Understanding of the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.

NCJ Number
Journal of Child Sexual Abuse 28 Volume: 28 Issue: 4 Dated: 2019 Pages: 417-434
Maureen C. Kenny; Claire Helpingstine; Haiying Long; Lorena Perez; Maria C. Harrington
Date Published
22 pages
Since child-serving professionals need increased understanding of the identification and therapeutic needs of child victims of commercial sexual exploitation, the current study evaluated the effectiveness of a training program on the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), which was provided for professionals likely to encounter these victims in their work.
Professionals' (227) knowledge level was examined prior to the training, immediately thereafter, and in a 6-12 month follow-up. Despite professional position or years of experience, participants had similar levels of CSEC knowledge before the training and all showed a significant improvement in their knowledge after the training; however, follow-up testing on a smaller subsample demonstrated that knowledge gains were not maintained. The analysis of the participants' responses to how their behavior would change subsequent to the training revealed important themes, including (1) greater ability to identify/assess or recognize CSEC victims; (2) greater understanding and knowledge of CSEC; (3) increased ability to communicate, interact, and engage with CSEC victims; and (4) heightened desire to educate others and raise awareness about CSEC. Results also indicated that participants were satisfied with the training and found it highly relevant to their work. (publisher abstract modified)