School-based education programs for the prevention of child sexual abuse: a Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis
- WALSH Kerryann, et al
- Journal article citation:
- Research on Social Work Practice, 28(1), 2018, pp.33-55.
Objective: To assess evidence of the effectiveness of school-based education programs for the prevention of child sexual abuse (CSA). The programs deliver information about CSA and strategies to help children avoid it and encourage help seeking. Methods: Systematic review including meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs), cluster RCTs, and quasi-RCTs. Results: Twenty-four studies with 5,802 participants were included. Child self-protective skills and applied knowledge increased in the intervention group, and knowledge gains were retained at 6 months. There were no differences in anxiety or fear and findings regarding disclosure of abuse were inconclusive. Conclusion: Children’s self-protective skills and knowledge can be increased by participation in school-based sexual abuse prevention programs. However, it is unknown whether gains in skills and knowledge actually decrease the likelihood of CSA. (Edited publisher abstract)