About Raisa Cacciatore

I am a mother of two, MD., child psychiatrist, adolescent health specialist, non-fiction author, trainer, and EMDR Europe Accredited Practitioner.

I work as a specialist physician in Väestöliitto (the Family Federation of Finland) since 1998. Now we have two trainers training programs ongoing for Childhood sexuality education.

Our training programme for Early education and care professionals (2015) was published 2017 by 2017 WHO:n ja BZgA:n: ”Training matters: A framework for core competencies of sexuality educators” pp.42-3. Finland: sexuality education for children – participatory training for professionals dealing with 0-6-year –olds in daycare and health services.

I’m preparing my dissertation at Helsinki University, in Health Promoting Sexuality: Supporting and protecting sexuality in children aged 4-6 years. Three articles have been submitted.

The article “Verbal and Behavioral Expressions of Child Sexuality Among 1-6‑Year‑Olds as Observed by Daycare Professionals in Finland” has been published in Archives of Sexual behaviour 2020.

The article describes child sexuality expressions using the WHO’s Standard’s eight topics of sexuality education. It illustrates that emotions as infatuations, as well as the body and norms, are essential parts of early childhood sexuality.

  • Cacciatore R, Ingman‑Friberg S, Lainiala L, Apter D. Verbal and Behavioral Expressions of Child Sexuality Among 1-6‑Year‑Olds as Observed by Daycare Professionals in Finland. Archives of Sexual Behavior 2020. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-020-01694-y

The (emotion-based) Steps of Sexuality is a review article of sexuality education, and a model of sexual development as well.

  • Cacciatore R, Korteniemi-Poikela E, Kaltiala R. The Steps of Sexuality—A Developmental, Emotion-Focused, Child-Centered Model of Sexual Development and Sexuality Education from Birth to Adulthood. International Journal of Sexual Health. 2019. https://doi.org/10.1080/19317611.2019.1645783

Since 2008, I have been a member of the European Expert Group. The group meets regularly under the auspices of the World Health Organization and the Regional Office for Europe and BZgA, and develops Sexuality education in Europe. This group has several publications, inter alia “Standards for Sexuality Education in Europe” for policymakers, educational and health authorities and specialists (2010).

At Väestöliitto we have web databanks in Finnish: www.hyvakysymys.fi/lapsijaseksuaalisuus, www.vaestoliitto.fi/lapsijaseksuaalisuus.

There are some materials in English:

Poster of age-appropriate, child-centred sexuality education for ages 0-6-yo in several languages

Most people are ignorant of what means “age and development appropriate” SE for children. Our poster on “Promoting child development” opens the sexual development of 0-6-year-old children, as well as the methods to support and protect them, based on their development and needs. Early childhood sexuality and sexuality education are sensitive topics, and parents and professionals are even afraid to talk about them. With the help of this poster, ignorance and rejection are less. The poster is based on the Standard’s eight topics of sexuality education. The aim is:

  • To promote holistic, equitable, age-appropriate, participatory sexuality education and to make it transparent.
  • To empower parents, caregivers, day-care & health-care professionals to support and protect early sexual development.
  • To increase public awareness towards supporting and protecting healthy early childhood sexuality and sexual health.
  • To improve sexual well-being and health of 0 – 6-year-old children

For instance, in English here.

Printable poster of Safety skills and your body in several languages for parents, for daycare, preschool education, families, playgroups etc.  Knowledge, skills, and attitude.

In Finnish: Turvataidot ja lapsen keho

In Swedish: Alla har rätt att bestämma över sin egen kropp

In English: Safety skills and your body


In Inari Same: Torvotááiđuh já párnáá roppâ

In Koltta Same: Staansilttõõzz da päärna rå´pp

In North Same: Dorvod áiddut ja m án á gorut

In Arabian: الملصق

Books for parents in 2019

I wrote with Erja Korteniemi-Poikela in 2019 a book for parents about emotion-focused sexuality education for children and adolescents ”Rakkaus, ilo, rohkeus – Seksuaalisuuden portaat” of which you can find some info in English ”Love, Joy and Courage – Steps Toward Sexual Maturityhere. This book is about the same model than the scientific article (Steps of sexuality), but directed for parents. The book will be translated into South Korean, Russian, Ukrainian and Hungarian.

The other book for parents about “How to Turn Your Child’s Anger into an Asset” we published as well with Erja Korteniemi-Poikela in 2019 (“Sisu, tahto ja itsetunto - Portaat itkupotkuraivareista aggression hallintaan”). The book describes how to turn attitude, strong will, and anger into independence and self-esteem; how to empower your child to manage challenging emotions. Aggression can be a positive driving force: all emotions are great resources if one learns to use them right. This is the Finnish “sisu” that is needed to change the world. The book offers guidance and tips on how to prevent harm and to reinforce essential life skills and wellbeing. It features a comprehensive step-by-step model of a child’s development based on years of experience and research. The book will be published in German.

With Susanne Ingman-Friberg and Osmo Penna we made s safety skill picture book for young children and kindergartens: “Pipunan’s very own belly button” (Pipunan ikioma napa 2019). Safety skills are presented in an exciting and amusing story. The book empowers and supports educators and parents to provide children with a positive attitude to every part of their body and to protect their body. It is very popular, but only in Finnish and soon in Estonian. It has free printable colouring pictures with safety skill sentences on the web. Colouring pictures help keep things in mind and reinforce positive body skills.


I have worked in school health and several adolescent outpatient clinics as a sexual health specialist for 20 years. Patients were both common youth and youth with chronic diseases, mental problems, substance abuse problems or placed in child protection institutions.

I have developed high quality, age- and development adjusted sexuality education and aggression management models for Finnish schools and kindergartens. Important materials are published by the National Agency for Education for professionals since 1994 (e.g. Steps of Sexuality for 4-20y olds, Human health for 7-10y olds, Steps of Aggression for 4-20y olds). My focuses are emotional skills, safety skills, wellbeing, self-esteem, health-promoting and problem prevention.

In Finland, I have published mostly together with other specialists, approx. 100 guides, books and web-models for babies, children, adolescents, adults, parents, couples and professionals in social work, health care and education.

Since 2006 we have published in Väestöliitto Expert and medical statements for trials to provide information about the normal sexual development of the child/the young person and the impact of sexual offences on the child/the young. The statements are made primarily for use by prosecutors and court advocates or to be annexed to the pre-trial protocol. 1. The effects of sexual abuse, exploitation and violence on minors, 2. The impact of grooming and sexual abuse related to digital media, 3. The effect of sexual trauma on a young person.

Latest books (as one of the writers): in 2014 "Awesome feeling!", about coping skills for sexuality, aggression and other developmental tasks for 13-16-year-old adolescents. In 2016 ”Body and play”, a handbook for professionals about sexuality and sexuality education of 0-6-year olds.

I give approximately 50 lectures each year, both for parents and professionals in Finland and at international conferences.

I have received lifetime achievement awards from the Finnish Cultural Foundation (2011) and the Association of Finnish Non-Fiction Writers (2016), as well as the State Award for Public Information (2017).