Despite post-2020 critical attitudes toward mass incarceration and criminalization (#DefundthePolice, #AbolishthePolice, #MeToo), rhetoric surrounding child sexual abuse (CSA) has made it a “limit point” for thinking about prison abolition. Through the 1974 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act and the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, the policing of marginalized communities was legitimized at the expense of CSA survivors. The foundations of these laws are based largely on misconceptions which contradict significant pieces of scholarship. While $5.4 billion federal dollars goes toward incarcerating perpetrators of “child sex crimes”, only $2 million is allocated for prevention strategies which are entangled with carceral systems (Letourneau & Malone, 2023; JBC, 2022). 

This workshop aims to educate on the methods and findings of The Wayfinding Project, a participatory action research and archival project by Just Beginnings Collaborative to archive, resource, and proliferate non-carceral CSA prevention. Participants will hear from project staff on: political frameworks behind preventing/ending CSA, understanding abolition feminism/transformative justice, project methods, research findings, and stakeholder recommendations. This workshop will demonstrate how mainstream carcerally-centered approaches targeting CSA disenfranchise and exacerbate the harm marginalized CSA survivor groups experience. Participants will be encouraged to participate within a radical theory of change that acknowledges the CSA’s underlying individual, social, economic, and political conditions.


jenani srijeyanthan, Melanie Brazzell, Alison Reba, Monica Ramsy

Area of Focus

Just Beginnings