What is SafeTouch?
SafeTouch is an educational program that promotes safety and reduces child sexual abuse. We have presented these age-appropriate and research-based programs to youth and adults for over 30 years.
Why do our kids need safety education?
Child sexual abuse (CSA) is unfortunately much more common than many people realize, with an estimated 1 in 10 children experiencing contact sexual abuse before their 18th birthday. CSA occurs across all demographic groups, regardless of race, religion, or socioeconomic status. CSA can cause long-lasting trauma, such as emotional, mental health, behavioral, physical, and academic problems.
What is child sexual abuse?
Child sexual abuse includes any sexual act between an adult and a minor or between two minors when one exerts power over the other. CSA includes forcing, coercing, or persuading a child to engage in any type of sexual act. It also includes non-contact acts such as exhibitionism, exposure to pornography, voyeurism, and communicating in a sexual manner by phone or the Internet.
How do these programs prevent child sexual abuse?
Kids learn how to recognize inappropriate behavior and react when someone makes them uncomfortable.
By teaching kids to “say no, get away, tell someone,” SafeTouch prevents abuse in several ways:
- Children with the confidence to say no and report abuse are perceived as less vulnerable by predators and are therefore less likely to be victimized.
- Because most abuse gradually escalates over time, teaching kids to identify and report inappropriate behavior early helps prevent further or more severe abuse.
- SafeTouch helps children already suffering from abuse to find the strength and the language to report it. Staff and volunteers are trained to look for ‘red flags’ during our programs that might suggest a child is at risk.
What makes your programs so effective?
Our curriculum is truly comprehensive, with each year’s lesson building on the skills students have learned in past years. SafeTouch aims to prevent sexual abuse by helping students fully understand safe and healthy relationships. By learning that “your body belongs to you” at a young age, children easily grasp the concept of consent when it is introduced as “flirting vs. bullying” in upper elementary and middle school. StartStrong, our middle school program, has a peer-to-peer focus, teaching tweens that sexual behaviors such as holding hands and hugging are only okay if the other person wants to do it. By learning to respect boundaries at a young age, teens have a deeper understanding of healthy relationships when they learn about communication, consent, and sexual assault in high school. Building key concepts and skills over several years allows students to learn boundaries, communication, and consent in a more effective, lasting way. Furthermore, our programs are based on the best available research, follow national best practice standards (more info soon!), and are provided by highly trained educators.
What about special populations?
Our programs can be tailored to fit your needs! All of our programs are available in Spanish. And for students with developmental disabilities, we offer Safe Touches Only, a curriculum specially designed to use picture books, puppets, and role plays to illustrate safe touches and personal boundaries. Contact us to discuss how we can customize programs for your group.
More about us
The Orange County Rape Crisis Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit agency. Our mission is to stop sexual violence and its impact through support, education, and advocacy. We have served Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough, and surrounding communities since 1974.
“The [lessons] were all age-appropriate, and they did a good job of exposing students to these important issues without making them unnecessarily uncomfortable.”
“I know that the SafeTouch program really empowered [my daughter]. Knowing that she has these skills and the understanding that her body is her own makes me sleep better at night!
“The content was clear, simple, and age-appropriate. I personally felt empowered that I can teach my child appropriately in ways that will help her stay safe.”
Learn more about our programs
Safe Touch Curriculum (for elementary and middle school students)
Start Strong Curriculum (for high school students)