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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Minnesota: School Program in Ecuador Successfully Teaches Kids About Sexual Abuse Prevention

The sexual abuse of children is a global public health problem that can harm their well-being for life. A University of Minnesota School of Public Health researcher recently evaluated a sexual abuse prevention program geared toward school children in Ecuador and found it successfully increases their knowledge of such maltreatment and how they can respond to it.

The study, led by PhD student Ms. Gabriela Bustamante, was published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect

Ms. Bustamante and colleagues evaluated a 10-week program created by a local non-governmental organization that is designed to be taught to children 7-12 years old by their own teachers. The course uses games and playful exercises to teach children about self-esteem, anatomy, personal boundaries, and more. 

Ms. Bustamante evaluated the program by testing how much children in six public elementary schools learned about sexual abuse during the course. The children were divided into two groups: Group 1 consisted of four schools and received the training first, followed by Group 2, which included the other two schools. 

The analysis of the three tests showed: 

“The fact that Group 1 had the same scores immediately after completing the program and again six months later shows that they are retaining the knowledge,” said Ms. Bustamante. “They remember what they were taught about self-esteem, private parts and the rest, which is encouraging.”

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