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and How They Affect ATSA
 • Motivational Interviewing
in the Treatment of Sexual Abusers:
An introduction
 • The ATSA Data Sharing Service:
A New Online Tool to Facilitate Data Sharing Between Clinicians and Researchers
 • Book Review:
The Prevention of Sexual Violence
 • Book Review:
Grendon and the Emergence of Forensic Therapeutic Communities
 • Book Review:
Understanding, Assessing, and Rehabilitating Juvenile Sexual Offenders
 • Book Review:
Assessment and Treatment of Sexual Offenders with Intellectual Disabilities
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Robin J. Wilson
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Vol. XXIII, No. 3
Summer 2011
Book Review:
The Prevention of Sexual Violence


 

The Prevention of Sexual Violence: A Practitioner’s Sourcebook

Keith L. Kaufman, Ph.D., Editor

Hardcover, 365 pages, $59.00 plus shipping and handling

NEARI Catalog Number: 9887 • ISBN: 978-1-929657-45-2

http://bookstore.nearipress.org/

All royalties for this volume will be donated to ATSA.


Drawing together the work of dozens of leaders in the field, Dr. Kaufman has assembled an impressive collection of “who’s who” in sexual violence prevention.  While the book itself is grounded in public health as an approach to violence prevention, it also demystifies the elusive concept of what prevention is and demonstrates how, often a simple gesture  can have a significant impact.  Dr. Kaufman and his cadre of experts have brilliantly packaged knowledge so that readers can identify actions anyone can take to prevent sexual violence.

One of the most striking and unique features of the Sourcebook is the way the authors connect the work of sex offender treatment to prevention strategies described in later chapters.  This direct link begins bridging a divide between two sides of the sexual violence prevention gap.  Without being overly preachy, the authors highlight the value of collaboration across disciplines, reinforcing the notion that communities are safer when people work together.

The book flows in such a way that the concept of prevention is deconstructed into basic components before actual prevention strategies are introduced.  The first section, “Understanding Sexual Violence”, describes sexual violence and the history of the prevention movement, giving the reader a foundation to understand all sides of the issue.  Risk and protective factors are explained and illustrated at each level of a person’s everyday life, while social ecology examines how each of us operates as an individual at the same time that we are interacting with others.  These interactions and relationships often occur within various organizations, communities, and institutions.  We are influenced by individuals with whom we have personal relationships, just as we are influenced by larger organizational and community factors.  We also influence others as we influence the practices and norms within organizations and communities. Within this web of social interaction lies tremendous potential for prevention.    We are bombarded daily with media images, marketing strategies, policy and politics – all of which sways us and those around us.  The Sourcebook offers strategies that impact all of these everyday life experiences.

Highlighted prevention strategies addressing the lower layers of the social ecology target three areas:   1.) changing individual behavior, such as at-risk individuals; 2.) changing behaviors within relationships, like parenting; and  3.) impacting organizations and communities, for example organizational policy and community collaboration.

The section entitled Impacting Systems to Enhance Prevention: Public Policy, Media, and Technology is devoted to the complex outermost layer of the social ecology – the society and cultures we all live in every day.  Three themes emerged in this section as well; 1.) policy change; 2.) systems change; and 3.) impacting the ever changing and somewhat unregulated virtual community and society.

Under the heading Evidence Based Prevention Programs, the authors explore three words that instill angst in practitioners around the world: “evidence based practice”.  There are no explicit, consistent criteria for what this means, other than the definition provided by the American Psychological Association.  To take some of the anxiety away, the authors first describe several prevention strategies that have some sort of evidence of effectiveness.   Next, the reader is offered a basic-training of sorts on what evidence is and how prevention practices are implanted, adapted, and evaluated, as well as how all of this builds the evidence base for sexual violence prevention.  Under Approaches to Create Better Prevention Programming, the value of the research and treatment of sexual offenders emerges as a critical element of prevention.

Following recommendations for applying prevention concepts to programmatic activities for special populations, Dr. Kaufman leaves us with a call to action.  The final chapter, titled, Future Directions in Prevention, clearly articulates that prevention practice includes advocacy for better research, smarter policy, and professional awareness of daily opportunities to promote prevention. 

Dr. Kaufman’s Practitioner’s Sourcebook is a must read for anyone working in any capacity toward preventing sexual violence.  This invaluable resource is a primer on prevention of sexual violence, a comprehensive state-of-the art picture of the prevention field, and a vision into the future of this important and growing field.  In the words of John Patterson, a consultant in this field, I don't think this is a book I will put on my bookshelf – this is a book I will keep on my desk."

 

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