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Rachel saw how community mobilisation made a difference to child sexual abuse prevention in Hauraki and Coromandel.

Rachel Harrison

CAPS Hauraki
07 868 8644

Right2BSafe – a community mobilisation campaign to help prevent child sexual abuse in Hauraki and Coromandel.

When it ran

Project ran between August 2011 and June 2016.


Adults who are around children and able to effect change for them

The goal

To change societal norms around child sexual abuse by building a critical mass of individuals with improved awareness and understanding of child abuse prevention strategies.

What we did

Phase one (one year) involved:

  • a publicity campaign with a poster, digital, print and radio advertising
  • campaign support activities including:
    • a resource kit to support social service agencies dealing with enquiries generated by the campaign
    • work with local libraries to buy and promote books on child sexual abuse prevention.

Phase two (two years) involved:

  • a new campaign using well-known local identities to promote child sexual abuse prevention strategies on posters, magnets, billboards and in local media
  • tip-sheets on our website and distributed around public venues and social services.

Phase three (six months) involved:

  • workshops in the towns around the region to encourage local action and build self-sustaining networks of supporters
  • a trial of a market stall in Thames providing referral information and distributing tip-sheets, champion’s magnets, specially printed pens and other resources.

Phase four (one year) involved:

  • market stall resource distribution project
  • networking with supporters and social service agencies
  • a media campaign highlighting strategies for preventative action for those with troubling sexual thoughts about children.

The outcome

1. Help for at-risk individuals

The market stall staff received between two and three disclosures each weekend, and support and referral information was provided. Staff also received six contacts with people with problematic sexual thoughts, two of whom accepted referral information.

2. Heightened awareness

Interviews with other stall holders and members of the public throughout the project revealed a high level of awareness and an uptake of prevention strategies.

In the latter part of the project, the Right2BSafe team have also focused on fostering a vision of a region without child sexual abuse and assisting with skill development and resourcing to support this vision. Evaluation results show that many stakeholders now reflect a belief that change is possible.

3. High levels of engagement

Consultation with local stakeholders, including social services, provided a comprehensive foundation for community engagement. Many social service representatives report successfully using campaign resources and tip-sheets to work with colleagues and clients.

Social media also showed good levels of engagement — in December 2015 a R2BSafe Facebook post, "Hugs are Optional", was viewed by 64,516 people and liked by 297.

Lessons learnt

If we were to run the programme again, we'd:

  • focus on more preventive strategies and inhibitors around those with sexual thoughts about children
  • intensify our focus on the isolated communities of the eastern seaboard of the peninsula. 


“Street surveys in the second year also provided important information for the project team as we discovered that almost three-quarters of those surveyed were aware of the project, and of these participants half were using, or knew someone who was using at least one strategy to help prevent child sexual abuse. That’s invaluable information!
— Rachel Harrison - Right2BSafe Project Lead