Safe schools for teens: preventing sexual abuse of urban poor teens, proof-of-concept study – Improving teachers’ and students’ knowledge, skills and attitudes

Safe schools for teens: preventing sexual abuse of urban poor teens, proof-of-concept study – Improving teachers’ and students’ knowledge, skills and attitudes

Safe schools for teens: preventing sexual abuse of urban poor teens, proof-of-concept study – Improving teachers’ and students’ knowledge, skills and attitudes

Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a difficult form of abuse to detect, with the peak age of reports from 13 to 15 years old. The recent revision of the Philippine school curriculum provided an opportunity to incorporate an educational intervention for prevention of CSA. This study aimed to improve the teachers’ and students’ knowledge, skills and attitudes on disclosure, identification, and reporting of CSA. This research is a two-phase proof-of-concept cross sectional study of 237 teachers and 1,458 Grade 7 students from 2 public high schools in metro Manila over a two year period. Phase 1 involved in-service training curriculum for all teachers on the recognizing, recording, reporting, and referral (4R’s) of child abuse and establishment of a referral and support system. Outcome measures included pre- and post-tests and number of CSA reports. Phase 2 involved implementation of eight student modules through the Health and Values Education subjects of the curriculum. Outcome measures were pre- and post-intervention measurement of abuse and module content. Training of teachers resulted in an increase in confidence for identifying CSA from 25% to 57%, and a decrease in apprehension of reporting CSA from 40% to 33%. The Safe Schools for Teens intervention significantly improved self-reported knowledge on abuse, dating violence, and how to help friends as well as on adolescent’s impulse control and emotional clarity. There was a significant decline from pre- to post-intervention in self-reported experiences of dating violence which includes physical, sexual and emotional violence, t(793) = 3.363, p = 001 as well as a significant decline in self-reported experiences of emotional abuse from a dating partner, t(837) = 2.693, p = 0.008. The Safe Schools for Teens intervention increases awareness and reporting of child sexual abuse. The intervention also reduces dating violence highlighting that the mindfulness focused approach in connection with systems strengthening is useful for addressing adolescent violence

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