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Child sexual abuse prevention in schools: New research report outlines what works and what needs improvement

May 27, 2021

Late last year, Bravehearts reached out to the Institute of Child Protection Studies to conduct a review of research on child sexual abuse prevention. The review would provide an evidence-base for the growth of our primary prevention program Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure into the online space.

Now published, the report Effective delivery methods and teaching strategies for child sexual abuse prevention: A rapid evidence check reviews the effectiveness of child sexual abuse prevention education for pre-schoolers and children in the early primary school years (aged 2-8 years). Programs are reviewed in terms of design, content and teaching method.

“It’s critically important to us that Bravehearts’ programs are based in evidence,” says Bravehearts’ Director of Research, Carol Ronken.

“We want our programs to have the best outcomes for children. With so much happening in the preventative education space, the work the Institute of Child Protection Studies have completed for us will be invaluable as we continue to grow and review our personal safety messages.”

The review recommends effective ways to prevent child sexual abuse in schools. It also highlights issues that need to be addressed in prevention education programs.

A significant issue is that children and young people can sometimes engage in harmful sexual behaviours towards other children. More focus is needed on the potential of children and young people to engage in harmful sexual behaviour with other children and young people (estimated at 30%).

A key recommendation is to teach self-protection programs within a framework of healthy and respectful relationships. This kind of holistic approach has the capacity to be protective against more than child sexual abuse.



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