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The University of Alberta & Little Warriors Release Findings of Prevent It! Study

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The University of Alberta & Little Warriors Release Findings of Prevent It! Study

Workshop helps participants better identify and prevent child sexual abuse

EDMONTON, AB [November 9, 2016] Today, the University of Alberta and Little Warriors announced the results of an extensive study conducted on Prevent It! an evidence-based education program for adults about Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) designed to significantly improve attitudes, knowledge and behaviour.

The Prevent It! program was developed by researchers at the University of Alberta in collaboration with Little Warriors, a national charitable organization based in Canada who delivers the workshop as part of their commitment to the awareness, prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse.

“Tragically, child sexual abuse is very common in North America with as many as 1 in 6 girls and 1 in 12 boys currently experiencing sexual abuse involving bodily contact. When all types of sexual abuse are combined including exposure to pornography or other sexual material, the number of children sexually abused is as high as 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys. If a program is going to train adults to detect and prevent CSA, it has to create significant awareness and behavioural change in the participants,” says Dr. Peter Silverstone, co-author of the study.

The Prevent It! workshop educates participants to STOP child sexual abuse by using the following steps: Study, Talk, Observe and Prepare for action. Results published in Frontiers in Psychology suggest that at the three month follow up, there were highly significant improvements in several aspects of behavior and knowledge, and attitudes regarding child sexual abuse.

  • The number of subjects actively looking for evidence of CSA increased from 46% (at baseline) to 81% (at follow-up)
  • The number of subjects who actively took steps to protect children increased from 25% (at baseline) to 48% (at follow-up)
  • An overall increase in accurate knowledge about CSA
  • Less adherence to myths about CSA
  • Participants talked about more CSA related topics with children in their lives
  • The amount of recommended organizational prevention strategies being used tripled (in those that were a part of an organization when they took the program)

This study followed the progress of 312 participants from 23 facilitated workshops, and measured knowledge, attitude, behavior, and prevention strategies used.

“The Prevent It! workshop is built on a foundation of strong and proven theories. That important groundwork gives us reason to believe the workshop will have long-term effectiveness, and participants will continue to demonstrate truly meaningful behaviour change,” says Erin Martin, co-author of the study and PhD Candidate with the Department of Psychiatry, University of Alberta. “Changes should include: being a responsible role model, watching for signs of abuse and taking steps to protect children.”

“Every day, we salute people who have become their own heroes by healing themselves from sexual abuse, but there are other heroes too – people who are watching out for the most vulnerable segment of our society, our children. Everyone who has children, works with children or cares about children will benefit from participating in this workshop,” says founder and chair of Little Warriors, Glori Meldrum.

Interested individuals can register to attend the three-hour workshop in person, or groups can arrange
a workshop at their location; both options can be booked here. A 90-minute online version of the workshop is also available here. The in-person and online workshops are offered at no cost to participants.

Media inquiries:

Brandy Horek Campaign Coordinator Little Warriors 780-465-0682


Ross Neitz
Communications Associate
Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, U of A

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