Paris Wiechecki Vergara

Paris Wiechecki Vergara

Evaluating the Efficacy of a School-Based Sexual Abuse Prevention Program, Safer, Smarter Kids, for Elementary-Aged Children


Paris Wiechecki Vergara and Shani Kerr, Ph.D.


Shani Kerr, Ph.D.


College of Public Health and Health Professions


Background: With the dedicated collaboration of career educators and developmental psychologists, the SSK program is the first pre-kindergarten through grade 12 school-based prevention and personal safety curriculum series in the United States. The goal of the program is to educate, empower, and equip children and adults with the knowledge and tools to protect their communities from CSA.

Methods: A quasi-experimental, dependent sample, pre/posttest design was employed. After obtaining child assent and parental consent from each participant, a 24-item pretest was administered to establish a baseline for learning performance. Next, a trained research assistant delivered the 6-week third-grade-specific SSK curriculum at a developmental research elementary school. For each lesson, the facilitator played an informative video, engaged students in the material with activities and worksheets, and sent children home with additional exercises to be completed with family member(s)/guardian(s). Once the program was finished, posttest data was gathered by using the same questionnaire and assessing whether student scores improved, stayed the same, or worsened.

Results: Approximately 72% scored higher on the posttest than the pretest. On average, each student’s posttest score was 2.6 points higher than their pretest.

Conclusion: There is sufficient information to validate the efficacy of the SSK curriculum. This pilot study, along with others like it, demonstrates the necessity for more CSA education and awareness campaigns across the US.


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Research Pitch

View a 3-minute research pitch below.

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