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April 2022Vol. 23, No. 3Effective Components of School-Based Child Abuse Prevention Programs

study published in Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review examined the effect of school-based programming on children's child abuse-related knowledge and self-protection skills. Most reviews in the study were focused on child sexual abuse prevention.

The study conducted two three-level meta-analyses. The first meta-analysis focused on the overall effect on knowledge. The data suggest that school programs had a significant positive effect on knowledge. These effects were larger in programs that addressed and focused on improving the social-emotional skills of children, used puppets and games or quizzes, and taught children to avoid self-blame. Significant positive effects were also found in programs that lasted longer and had more, but shorter, sessions that allowed children to maintain their attention and that incorporated repetition. The second meta-analysis found that school-based prevention programs had a medium positive effect on children's self-protection skills. Surprisingly, programs that focused on identifying trusted adults had a smaller than anticipated effect on children's self-protection skills.