We need to broaden the sphere of morality to take into consideration all practices which involve a lack of respect for persons: systems of race, class, age and gender—in short, all inequalities and aggressions. A moral society would be a just system which eliminated inequality while acknowledging and catering for difference and variety. If moral debate is reduced to sexual matters, then all other inequalities are bound to be obscured by insistent screams of shock and horror—by exaggeration and distortion. As long as that process continues, children will be exploited sexually, racially, through their poverty, or simply because they are children.
Judith Ennew (1986),
The sexual exploitation of children
Child sexual abuse will continue as long as we simply focus on individual children, one at a time, applying crisis measures when abuse is revealed. It is also important, but not enough that children and families and offenders are healed after sexual abuse happens. A more general healing of society is required to change attitudes which promote and condone sexually abusive behaviours. This chapter will look at prevention in this broader sense and identify some of the social values that must be changed for prevention to be effective.
Three levels of prevention are identified (Bagley and Thurston 1988). These are: (1) primary—aiming to address the root causes and cultural values involved in an identified problem; (2)