Restoring hope with dignity

Community Education & Professional Development

JJPI's community education and professional development workshops focus primarily on two interrelated domains: preventing and appropriately responding to child sexual abuse and understanding trauma and creating trauma-informed settings. Our workshops focusing on child sexual abuse aim to provide communities and service providers with an increased capacity to recognize social and behavioral indicators present in situations that lead to, or result in, child sexual abuse and to intervene before abuse occurs. Our workshops on understanding and responding to trauma address the significant impact of trauma and the importance of creating trauma-sensitive environments. Each of our workshops is approximately two to three hours long. Topics can be combined to create longer (e.g., full-day) trainings. We can also customize and combine training topics to create unique trainings. To request information, please email Catherine Verdeur at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 215-701-1560 ext. 5042.

Workshops Focused on Preventing and Responding to Childhood Sexual Abuse

Darkness to Light© Stewards of Children© Free Training on Preventing Child Sexual Abuse

Stewards of Children® is an evidence-informed training that is designed to teach adults who have interactions with children how to recognize, prevent, and appropriately respond to child sexual abuse. Several high-quality studies have shown that Stewards of Children© leads to an increase in reporting of suspected childhood sexual abuse by individuals who have completed the program.

The training is built on a practical, five-step approach that equips participants with the tools to protect children. The two-hour workshop is interactive, featuring live trainers from JJPI, brief exercises, and short videos from survivors of childhood sexual abuse, experts in the field and treatment providers. Participants will learn practical actions they can take to reduce instances of child sexual abuse in their organizations, families, and communities.

Through a grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), JJPI is able to offer Stewards of Children© to all participants free of charge. The program is approved for two hours of CE credits for nurses, social workers, dentists, and dental hygienists.

To inquire about a private training for your group, please email email Catherine Verdeur at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 215-701-1560 ext. 5042. Alternatively, you can sign up for regularly scheduled public training sessions on Eventbrite. Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, at this time all trainings are taking place virtually. For more information about Stewards of Children©, please visit Darkness to Light’s website.

A Universal Strategy to Prevent Childhood Sexual Abuse

Our Universal Strategy workshop uses real life clinical scenarios and anecdotes to provide individuals with the capacity to recognize social and behavioral risk factors and indicators of child sexual abuse. The program is designed to shift the primary responsibility for identifying and reporting abuse from children to adults and to increase the likelihood of intervention before sexual abuse can occur.

Topics Discussed Include:

  • Defining Abuse/Sexual Abuse
  • Prevalence of Abuse in US/Philadelphia
  • Understanding Consent and PA Statutory Law
  • Risk/Protective Factors
  • Warning Signs of Potential Abusers
  • Behavioral & Physical Indicators of Abuse
  • Common Environments: Violence and Sex
  • Prevention & Intervention Strategies

Child Sexual Development: Distinguishing Healthy from Problematic Behaviors

Studies have shown that early intervention has the greatest success rate in correcting sexually inappropriate behavior. To intervene properly, adults need to understand sexual behavior benchmarks at each developmental stage. Our Child Sexual Development workshop focuses on providing adults with a basic understanding of appropriate, inappropriate, and problematic sexual behavior at each stage, as well as helping to build universal assessment and intervention skills.

Topics Discussed Include:

  • Defining and distinguishing between appropriate, inappropriate, and problematic sexual behavior in children at various developmental levels
  • Identifying the impact of unchecked inappropriate and problematic behaviors on future development and social interactions
  • Safe environments, personal space and privacy
  • Talking to children about sex
  • Boundaries and their impact on child sexual development

Family Dynamics and Communication: Creating Functional Roles, Responsibilities, and Expectations

This workshop aims to educate participants on how family dynamics can serve as either a risk or protective factor for childhood sexual abuse. In addition, the workshop describes how roles and responsibilities within the family structure can be modified to ensure safe environments for children, and conversely, how the maintenance of dysfunctional roles can lead to unsafe sexual environments. Furthermore, this workshop provides an understanding of how shifts in responsibilities and blurred boundaries can lead to increased risk for sexual acting out and/or victimization. Finally, it explores ways to improve effective communication inside and outside of the family while reinforcing expected behaviors that can work to prevent child sexual abuse.

Topics Discussed Include:

  • Common family structures and factors that influence those dynamics
  • Roles in “dysfunctional” families
  • Intergenerational abuse
  • Family specific risk and protective factors
  • The role of communication in reducing risk
  • Strategies to improve communication between parent and child

Creating Sexually Safe Boundaries

Much of the sexually aggressive behavior exhibited by children is not because they are inherently abusive. Rather, it can be traced back to their lack of understanding regarding personal space and in recognizing safe boundaries. This workshop explores various types of boundaries, and explains why boundaries are an important tool in the prevention of child sexual abuse.

Topics Discussed Include:

  • Identifying the various types of boundaries and why they are important
  • Distinguish between healthy and blurred boundaries
  • Exploring how offenders use grooming process to exploit poor boundaries
  • Distinguishing between pushing boundaries and boundary violations
  • Strategies for teaching and reinforcing healthy boundaries

Working with Survivors of Sexual Abuse

This workshop is designed for individuals working in mental health settings, from support staff in residential settings to therapists working with survivors of sexual abuse in outpatient psychotherapy.  This workshop provides attendees with a basic understanding of sexual abuse, as well as specific tips and interventions to be taken into consideration when working with survivors.

Topics Discussed Include:

  • Recognizing the short and long-term effects of sexual abuse
  • Talking to children and parents about sex
  • Treatment planning and intervention strategies
  • Implementing an integrated approach to treating survivors of sexual abuse

Workshops Focused on Understanding Trauma and Creating Trauma-Informed Settings

Trauma 101

The focus of this workshop is on helping participants gain an understanding of what trauma is, its impact on the brain and development, and ways to better support individuals who may be encountering trauma by creating trauma-informed settings. This is an introductory level course designed to spark awareness and foster further exploration.

Men and Trauma

This workshop is geared towards helping attendees address the unique factors associated with men’s experiences of trauma. Topics discussed include the internal impact of trauma on men, the external impact of trauma on men, the role of gender expectations on men’s experiences with trauma, and typical male responses to trauma.

Trauma-Informed Schools

This workshop addresses the specific impact of trauma on learning and brain development. It is designed to help attendees begin to differentiate between post-traumatic symptoms and other attention-related problems. Participants will receive education on classroom interventions and/or policy changes that can help them move towards creating trauma-informed schools and classrooms to better support their students.

Trauma-Informed Medical Care

This training is geared towards medical professionals and/or other support service professionals who may encounter individuals with medical trauma in their work. Attendees will learn about the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study, its connection to physical health issues, the impact of social determinants of health, and the impact and importance of empathy and compassion on a wide range of direct and indirect medical outcomes, including improved wellness, psychological outcomes (e.g., reduced anxiety and depression), compliance with treatment, and satisfaction with treatment. In addition, attendees will learn the positive impact of empathy and compassion on reducing burnout, reducing overall medical expenses, and increasing revenue.