Safe Touches

About This Program

Target Population: Children in Kindergarten through 3rd grade

For children/adolescents ages: 5 – 8

Program Overview

Safe Touches - A Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program for Children is designed for children in Kindergarten through third grade (K-3). Specially trained facilitators use puppets to talk about body safety concepts and help children learn and practice key safety skills. The workshop is classroom-based (approximately 25 students per workshop) and lasts 40-50 minutes, including a question and answer session at the end. After the workshop, children are given an age-appropriate activity book on body safety to complete at home with their caregivers and encourage continued conversations about sexual abuse prevention.

Program Goals

The goals of Safe Touches are:

  • Learn how to protect self from child sexual abuse
  • Be able to differentiate between safe touches and not safe touches
  • Know what actions can be taken if feeling unsafe or confused
  • Know what actions can be taken if a not safe touch is received
  • Identify safe adults who can be told if a not safe touch is received

Essential Components

The essential components of Safe Touches include:

  • Child sexual abuse prevention program
  • 45-50 minutes, single-dose workshop
  • Culturally sensitive script
  • Small size interactive workshops (Maximum group size of 25-30 children)
  • Facilitators trained on how to deliver the Safe Touches program use puppets to teach body safety concepts
  • Children receive an activity booklet to complete at home with caregiver to promote concept reinforcement at home
  • Organizations wanting to implement need to attend a two-day Safe Touches Facilitator Training workshop

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

Safe Touches directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Possible unawareness of what not safe touches are or what to do if they receive a not safe touch
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:

This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: An activity booklet is sent home with the child to be completed with their caregivers.

Recommended Intensity:

One 45-50 minute workshop

Recommended Duration:

One workshop

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community Agency
  • School

Homework

Safe Touches includes a homework component:

Activity booklets are given to children at the end of the workshop to be completed at home with the caregiver. These booklets are designed to help reinforce key concepts.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

A relatively quiet space/room to conduct the workshop, two facilitators, and program materials (puppets, posters, activity booklets)

Education and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

Facilitators should be Master’s level clinicians or interns with knowledge of child abuse and neglect or have equivalent work experience in the child welfare field. All service providers are required to have training in Identifying and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect.

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program , and there is training available for this program.

The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. (2018). Facilitator training manual for Safe Touches – A Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program for Children (Revised). New York: Author.

Training Contact:
Training is obtained:

As requested, training can be provided onsite or offsite.

Number of days/hours:

2 days (approximately 12-14 hours of training) of a mandatory Safe Touches Facilitator Training

Implementation Information

Pre-Implementation Materials

There are no pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for Safe Touches.

Formal Support for Implementation

There is formal support available for implementation of Safe Touches as listed below:

Technical assistance and consultation is optional for organizations that have attended a Safe Touches Facilitator Training and want additional support (additional fee). This support is tailored to the organization depending on their needs. The technical assistance and consultation is provided by The NYSPC either in person or virtually.

Fidelity Measures

There are fidelity measures for Safe Touches as listed below:

A workshop fidelity form is provided in the training manual to assist in the assessment of workshop implementation consistency and fidelity. The form is completed by a trained independent rater, and functions as a tool to track both fidelity to the workshop, as well as a guide to program managers about what issues may need to be changed or addressed. This form is not publicly available. It is provided to organizations that complete the Safe Touches Facilitator Training.

Implementation Guides or Manuals

There are implementation guides or manuals for Safe Touches as listed below:

Implementation materials are provided in the Facilitator Training Manual. These documents can only be obtained by attending the Safe Touches Facilitator Training. These materials include:

  • Facilitator Workshop Form
  • Facilitator Reminder Checklist
  • Planning and Scheduling Form
  • Concerning Statement and Disclosure Tracking Form
  • Fidelity Checklist
  • Workshop Evaluation Survey

Research on How to Implement the Program

Research has not been conducted on how to implement Safe Touches.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Pulido, M. L., Dauber, S., Tully, B. A., Hamilton, P., Smith, M. J., & Freeman, K. (2015). Knowledge gains following a child sexual abuse prevention program among urban students: A cluster-randomized evaluation. American Journal of Public Health, 105(7), 1344-1350. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2015.302594

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 492

Population:

  • Age — Mean=8.26 - 8.41 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 70% Hispanic, 23% African American, and 7% Other
  • Gender — 56% Male and 44% Female
  • Status — Participants were second- and third-grade students.

Location/Institution: 6 public elementary schools in New York City

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
The purpose of this study was to evaluate Safe Touches, in a low-socioeconomic status, racially diverse sample. Participants were cluster-randomized by classrooms to the Safe Touches intervention or control groups Measures utilized include the Children's Knowledge of Abuse Questionnaire. Results indicate that all of the intervention group participants showed significantly greater improvement than the control group on knowledge of inappropriate touch. Children in second grade and children in schools with a greater proportion of students in general (vs special) education showed greater gains than other participants in knowledge of inappropriate touch. No significant change was observed in knowledge of appropriate touch among control or intervention groups. Limitations include may not be representative of all urban schools, limiting generalizability, it cannot be assumed that gains in knowledge after participating in Safe Touches led to behavioral changes and risk reduction for child sexual abuse and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Holloway, J. L., & Pulido, M. L. (2018). Sexual abuse prevention concept knowledge: Low income children are learning but still lagging. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 27(6), 642-662. doi:10.1080/10538712.2018.1496506

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 492 (secondary data analysis)

Population:

  • Age — Mean=8.26 - 8.41 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 70% Hispanic, 23% African American, and 7% Other
  • Gender — 56% Male and 44% Female
  • Status — Participants were second- and third-grade students.

Location/Institution: 6 public elementary schools in New York City

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study utilized participants from Pulido et al. (2015). The purpose of this study was to evaluate Safe Touches, in a low-socioeconomic status, racially diverse sample. Participants were cluster-randomized by classrooms to the Safe Touches intervention or control groups. Measures utilized include the Children's Knowledge of Abuse Questionnaire, the Workshop Implementation Checklist (WIC), the Data Collection Checklist (DCC) and the Teacher Follow-up Checklist (TFC). Results show that children learn and retain certain concepts, but vary widely in knowledge across items. This sample of low-income, minority children also show lower baseline and “learned” abuse prevention knowledge compared to published norms, which is not attributed to implementation variability. Limitations include socio-economic status (SES) and ethnicity data were captured at the school level, so direct comparisons between knowledge gain and these variables cannot be made and length of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 4 weeks.

Additional References

No reference materials are currently available for Safe Touches.

Contact Information

Annie Costello, MPH
Agency/Affiliation: The NYSPCC
Website: nyspcc.org
Email:
Phone: (212) 233-5500 x223

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: September 2018

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: November 2018

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: November 2018