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By: Jason Jowers

On February 24th, 2022, OneOp hosted a webinar called “Preventing the Onset of Youth Problem Sexual Behaviors.” This webinar was another great installment in our Sexual Behavior in Children & Youth (SBCY) Series, which has been ongoing since May 2019.

The goals of this webinar focused primarily on an introduction to the school-based universal prevention program called Responsible Behavior with Younger Children (RBYC), which can be used to prevent problematic sexual behavior directed towards younger children and also peers. Problematic sexual behavior (PSB) of children and youth, as well as child sexual abuse (CSA), is a preventable public health problem that is addressed in this webinar.

We were joined in this webinar by Amanda Ruzicka and Dr. Luciana Assini-Meytin. Amanda Ruzicka is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Mental Health and the Director of Research Operations at the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, both housed within the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Dr. Luciana Assini-Meytin is an Assistant Scientist at the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Mental Health.

Webinar Highlights

  • This webinar began with going over the differences between problematic sexual behaviors in children and youth and child sexual abuse. These nuances helped to form the foundation of the research Amanda and Luciana have been conducting. They also spoke on the current public health approach to violence prevention and how problematic sexual behavior and child sexual abuse are preventable public health problems.
  • They then got into the best practices for the prevention of problematic sexual behavior in children and youth including introducing the primary aims of their RBYC program.
  • They then went over the curriculum of their RBYC program and their pilot, preliminary findings, and then the results of their research.
  • The results showed that knowledge about PSB, CSA, and related concepts increased for children and youth who took part in the study as well as self-efficacy to prevent PSB-CY and sexual harassment behaviors among their peers.
  • They concluded that even though there is a lack of evidence-based programs out there to prevent teens from engaging younger children in sexual behaviors, this study, and the RBYC program can be a new and promising prevention intervention to fill these gaps.

Archived Viewing and CE Credit Info

If you missed the live event, you could watch the YouTube archived recording on the webinar event page. Free continuing education credits for this event are still available. Case Management CE credits are available through February 2023 and the UT Social Work CE credits through February 2024.

For more from the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse team, feel free to take a look back at our archived webinar featuring the director of the Moore Center, Dr. Elizabeth Letourneau. She joined us for a webinar called “From Hysteria to Hope: Bringing Reason to Sexual Abuse in Childhood” back in 2019 and is one of the webinars within the SBCY Series that really laid the groundwork for understanding how problematic and/or illegal sexual behavior in childhood and youth can be framed as a preventable public health problem. This webinar also has free CE credits still available.

Finally, be sure and stay tuned and bookmark our SBCY Series main page for updates on some exciting and upcoming programming we have in store starting the summer of 2022!

Blog Image: Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels