2022 Grants Challenge

Trauma-Informed Sexual Violence & Trafficking Prevention Education

Idea by Nest

Nest’s mission is to collectively create a world where sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking of children cannot exist. We provide holistic prevention education, trauma-informed victim support, and tailored tools for institutional change. Together, these components promote behaviors and environments where young people can have healthy relationships free from violence.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Support for Foster and Systems-Impacted Youth

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

LAUSD (select only if you have a district-wide partnership or project)

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Statistics show that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys will be sexually victimized before the age of 18. Reports show that Los Angeles County is one of the largest sex trafficking hubs in the U.S. It serves as both an entry point for victims being trafficked as well as a destination. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, almost half of human trafficking victims reported in California in recent years have been minors. Youth who are marginalized, including youth of color, low-income youth, youth who identify as LGBTQIA+, those who are experiencing homelessness and those who are involved in the foster care system, are far more likely to be impacted by sexual violence. Given this inequity, we intentionally create content for youth whose experiences are colored by intersections of gender, race, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status. We also engage children and young people in discussions about the systemic inequities that create such disparity.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Funds will be used to support 3 primary goals: -Expansion of our Teacher Training program for LAUSD with the goal of it being adopted district-wide and impacting up to 700,000 students annually. We train educators to teach the Nest prevention education to their students because the lessons are best delivered to youth by their teachers with whom they have trusted relationships. Curricula implementations teach healthy relationships, bystander behavior, and safety skills with a focus on core values that are foundational to development of protective factors for sexual violence prevention. -Piloting implementation of our Healthy Childhood Program by training elementary school counselors on the curriculum and on identifying and supporting students who may be at risk. This creates the foundational understanding and tools across the school ecosystem to teach and respond effectively to students. The more that educators are integrated into prevention work, the more effective intervention and response efforts can be. -Providing Victim Assistance for students who disclose abuse and need support by our offering direct services and acting as victim advocates. Nest will improve the outcomes of mandatory school reporting through several interventions including training in compassionate response to trusted adults and mandatory reporters, improved coordination for response efforts, and a School Reporting Policy Toolkit that streamlines reporting procedures for sexual violence and trafficking.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Sexual violence disproportionately affects youth who are experiencing homelessness, those in foster care, low-income youth, Black, Brown and Indigenous youth, and youth who identify as LGBTQIA+. We provide programming to all young people but center those who are most at-risk for sexual exploitation. Our approach is designed to disrupt the cyclical nature of abuse and exploitation, addressing both victimization and first-time perpetration as well as the systems in which they occur. We are also seeing increased cases of mental health crises and suicidal ideation in schools with an overwhelming need for support services for students. Research and narrative evidence shows that risk and protective factors overlap for all of these issues. While programs often approach these issues in silos, we are bringing together multidisciplinary research and experts to address sexual violence in a comprehensive way, strengthening approaches for other mental health and interpersonal violence concerns.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Nest’s programming is grounded in research-based prevention strategies. We use pre- and post-curricular surveys developed by academic collaborators as performance measures for our teacher training and school implementations. Based upon our 2020 Evaluation Report, after participating in our program, participants demonstrated statistically significant increases in: awareness of sex trafficking and empathic reactions toward victims of sex trafficking; awareness of resources that they could turn to for help; gains in the five critical components of providing bystander interventions; ability to provide bystander interventions to at-risk peers; ritical reflection (i.e., awareness and ability to think critically about societal problems) and critical media consumption (i.e., ability to be a discerning consumer of media, and to critically analyze and interrogate messages in the media/social media); and prosocial participation in their communities.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 500

Indirect Impact: 50,000