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UB researchers to evaluate effectiveness of sex-abuse prevention program

Researchers from the University at Buffalo will explore better ways to prevent, recognize and report sexual abuse of elementary school children through a research project involving schools in the Greece Central School District, near Rochester.

UB's Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention received a $500,000 grant from the Committee for Children to study and evaluate whether staff training can help teachers and other school staff recognize if a child has been sexually abused. Researchers also will examine whether teaching children about personal safety discourages sexual abuse.

Amanda Nickerson, director of the Alberti Center; Jennifer Livingston, senior research scientist at UB’s Research Institute on Addictions; Kathleen Allen, training and evaluation specialist at the Alberti Center; and Sunha Kim, assistant professor of educational psychology and quantitative method will evaluate the effectiveness of the school component in recognizing sexual abuse.

Nickerson, Livingston and Allen recently completed a related research project evaluating the effectiveness of providing information to parents in combating sexual abuse.

The research team will work with eight schools in the Greece district. Four schools will participate in the intervention, which includes steps to increase communication aimed at improving the way teachers and parents recognize and handle possible sexual abuse. The other schools will act as controls.

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