School-based child sexual abuse prevention programs: implications for practitioners

Ian Barron, Keith Topping

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    Schools are a primary location for the delivery of child sexual abuse prevention programs. This has both advantages and disadvantages. Further, despite the rapid growth internationally of school-based abuse prevention programs, there continues to be a lack of systematic evaluation, and many of these programs are implemented on trust rather than on evidence of their effectiveness (Finkelhor and Dzuiba-Leatherman, 1995; McIntyre and Carr, 1999a and Topping and Barron, 2009). Secrecy about abuse (Krivacska, 1990), the difficulty in measuring transfer of skills from programs to real life (Ko and Cosden, 2001) and the complex interaction of factors related to program, presenter, and student have all been barriers to good quality evaluation. In recent years more evidence has accumulated, but critiques have been rare. This article summarizes the authors’ recent literature review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness of purely school-based child sexual abuse prevention programs (Topping and Barron, 2009) and outlines the primary implications for their effective delivery. We also provide recommendations for teachers and child protection practitioners in planning and delivering sexual abuse prevention programs.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)11-19
    Number of pages9
    JournalAPSAC Advisor
    Issue number2-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • Child sexual abuse
    • Child protection
    • Education


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