by Morinville News Staff

The University of Alberta and Little Warriors announced the results of an extensive study on Prevent It! Wednesday morning. Prevent It! is an evidence-based education program for adults about Child Sexual Abuse developed by researchers at the University of Alberta in collaboration with Little Warriors, who delivers the workshop as part of their commitment to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of child sexual abuse.

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

“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,” said Dr. Peter Silverstone, the study’s co-author. “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.”

The Prevent It! Workshop educates participants to STOP child sexual abuse by studying, talking, observing and preparing for action.

Results published in Frontiers in Psychology suggest significant improvements in behavior, knowledge, and attitudes regarding child sexual abuse at the three-month follow-up.

According to information released Wednesday, the number of subjects actively looking for evidence of CSA increased from 46% (at baseline) to 81% (at follow-up) Additionally, the number of subjects actively taking steps to protect children increased from 25% (at baseline) to 48% (at follow-up).

The study found an overall increase in accurate knowledge about CSA, less adherence to myths about CSA, and participants talked more about CSA related topics with children in their lives.

“The Prevent It! workshop is built on a foundation of strong and proven theories,” said Erin Martin, co-author of the study and PhD Candidate with the Department of Psychiatry, University of Alberta. “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.”

Little Warriors founder and Chair Glori Meldrum was pleased with the results. “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,” she said, noting everyone who has children or works with children will benefit from participating in the Prevent It! workshop.

Those interested in the program can register to attend the three-hour workshop in person, and groups can arrange a workshop at their location. Program participation is done through littlewarriors.ca, and a 90-minute online version of the workshop is also available on the site. There is no cost to participants.

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