Victimization prevention programs for children: A follow-up

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American Journal of Public Health, ISSN: 0090-0036, Vol: 85, Issue: 12, Page: 1684-1689

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Finkelhor, David; Asdigian, Nancy L; Dzuiba-Leatherman, Jennifer
American Public Health Association
Medicine; Sociology
article description
Objective. This study examined whether victimization prevention instruction in school has any impact on children's behavior in situations of real victimization threat. Methods. Telephone interviews were conducted in 1992 with a nationally representative sample of youths aged 10 to 16 and their caretakers, and the experience of 1457 of these children was followed up more than a year later. Results. Exposure to a more comprehensive prevention program was not associated with reduced incidence of victimization, injury, or upset. However, some of the exposure conditions were associated with an increased likelihood that the children would disclose victimizations, an increased likelihood that they would see themselves as having successfully protected themselves, and a decreased likelihood that they would blame themselves for the episode. Exposed children acquired some knowledge about sexual abuse and, when actually confronted by a threat, an ability to do the things they had been taught. A nonsignificant trend was also noted toward increased injury for exposed children during sexual assaults. Conclusion. These mixed findings suggest that prevention educators need to plan programs based on realistic goals for what can be accomplished.