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The 5 Steps to Protecting Our Children

The 5 Steps to Protecting Our ChildrenTM is an introductory guide for responsible adults interested in the prevention of child sexual abuse. The 5 Steps outline the Darkness to Light core principles for preventing, recognizing, and reacting responsibly to child sexual abuse, and form the framework for the adult training program, Stewards of Children.

What is Child Sexual Abuse?

  • Any sexual act between an adult and a minor or between two minors when one exerts power over the other.
  • 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 Internet.
  • An agonizing and traumatic experience for its victims.
  • A crime punishable by law.
Download the
5 Steps Booklet Now!



English Version


Spanish Version

The 5 Steps Foundation

Personal empowerment helps provide adults with the capacity and momentum to take action against child sexual abuse. With personal empowerment, we can make choices, take risks, and support each other - the foundation of The 5 Steps.

Making Choices

We have the ability - both in our organizations and in our families - to make proactive choices that protect children and keep them safe from sexual abuse. If we want our children to be happy and healthy, we have to make choices which support that goal.

Taking Risks

Choices often involve some personal risk that takes us outside our comfort zones - like talking to children about sexual boundaries, redirecting an adult who's crossing boundaries, or making an actual report. Sometimes we have to take risks, even if we are uncertain or don't know the outcome, to make sure a child is protected.

Supporting Each Other

When children take their first steps, ride their first bikes, or climb into the driver's seat for the first time, there is usually someone beside them providing guidance and support. It's easier to take big steps when you know you have someone on your side, ready to lend a hand if you need it. As communities, as organizations, and as individuals, we can give support to others' efforts to prevent child sexual abuse, and we can ask for support when we need it.

This is only the beginning.

Child sexual abuse is a very complex problem, and these steps touch on only a small part of it. For a more in-depth understanding of child sexual abuse prevention, take Stewards of Children training.

The information we provide is not a substitute for the advice of professionals. It is only to give you simple, proactive steps to help protect children.


Step 1: Learn the Facts