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Youth Exposure to Violence Prevention Programs in a National Sample

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 38 Issue: 4 Dated: April 2014 Pages: 677-686
David Finkelhor; Jennifer Vanderminden; Heather Turner; Anne Shattuck; Sherry Hamby
Date Published
April 2014
10 pages
Based on a national sample of 3,391 children ages 5-17, this study assessed how many children and youth had ever been exposed to a violence-prevention program.
Sixty-five percent of the children and youth had ever been exposed to a violence-prevention program, 55 percent in the past year. Bullying was the most frequent of the five most common topics of such programs, with 55 percent of the children having participated in a bullying prevention program. Twenty-one percent had been exposed to sexual assault prevention programming; and approximately one-third had been exposed to dating-violence prevention programming. Based on information from children's most recent program exposure, a majority of the programs (59 percent) involved single day curricula. Most (72 percent) gave children information to take home, and 64 percent of children discussed the program with parents; however, only 40 percent of the programs gave children the opportunity to practice skills, and only 18 percent invited parents to come in for a meeting about the program. Large percentages of the programs addressed healthy and respectful relationships, warning signs for dangerous situations, and ways of resolving conflict. The most widespread content involved the response of telling an adult about the victimization (88 percent). There was a decline in the quality of programs for the oldest teens (15-17), and this age group rated the programs as less helpful than did younger children. The findings about the possible positive effects of violence-prevention programs were encouraging; however, the authors caution that this was not an experimental or longitudinal study, so it was not designed to measure programming effects. The primary foundation of the study design was a nationwide sampling frame of residential telephone numbers from which a sample of telephone numbers was drawn by random digit dialing. 4 tables, 1 figure, 20 references, and appended study questionnaire