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Report details impact of child sexual abuse prevention study

The University of Oregon’s Center for the Prevention of Abuse and Neglect (CPAN) and The Ford Family Foundation recently released a first-of-its-kind evaluation of child sexual abuse prevention programming in rural Oregon and Siskiyou County, Calif.

The report detailed the impact of Protect Our Children, a community-based training program that increases knowledge about child sexual abuse and promotes ways to combat it. Beyond measuring individual-level impacts, it also documents systems-level changes.

Child sexual abuse and related trauma are compounded by a culture of silence. Among high school students who participated in the Oregon Child Abuse Prevalence Survey, nearly 29% experienced at least one form of child sexual abuse, yet 47% had not disclosed their abuse to anyone at the time.

Protect Our Children has trained nearly 40,000 people to date. The landmark report found that compared with randomly selected Oregonians, program participants were five times more likely to report that they knew what to do to contribute to child abuse prevention, four times more likely to ask about sexual abuse prevention policies, three times more likely to believe their community has a plan to reduce child sexual abuse and nearly three times more likely to look for signs of sexual abuse in children.

Important capacity and community-level changes were also reported among the program’s partner sites, including greater community awareness of prevention efforts, growing cross-agency partnerships and new conversations and norms for action-taking and sustained change.

A program of The Ford Family Foundation for the first seven years, Protect Our Children is now a standalone program at the Tides Center.

To learn more about Protect Our Children, please visit https://bit.ly/3YJMxyC.