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Strengthen the Evidence for Maternal and Child Health Programs

New: MCHbest strategies database for sample ESMs

Evidence Tools
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Strategy. School-Based Programs to Prevent Dating Violence and Sexual Assault

Approach. Conduct educational programs including curriculum on healthy relationships, social norms training, and improved bystander awareness and behaviors, and increase surveillance and teacher/staff visibility in violence ‘hot spots’ in the school environment.

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Overview. Studies show that educational programs can promote healthy relationships, improve perceptions of social norms, increase bystander awareness and positive bystander behaviors, and reduce the number of dating violence incidents in schools.1- 4

Evidence. Moderate. Educational programs appear to be effective in preventing dating violence and sexual assault. Programs based on this strategy are likely to work. This strategy has been tested more than once and results trend positive overall. Access the peer-reviewed evidence through the MCH Digital Library. (Read more about understanding evidence ratings).

Target Audience. Middle and high school students.

Outcome. Decreased prevalence of dating violence and sexual assault. For detailed outcomes related to each study supporting this strategy, click on the peer-reviewed evidence link above and read the "Intervention Results" for each study.

Examples from the Field. Access descriptions of ESMs that use this strategy directly or intervention components that align with this strategy. You can use these ESMs to see how other Title V agencies are addressing the NPM. You may also want to look at evidence that supports educational programs in other NPM topic areas that can be translated to this specific topic area.

Sample ESMs. Using the approach “Conduct educational programs including curriculum on healthy relationships, social norms training, and improved bystander awareness and behaviors and increase surveillance and teacher/staff visibility in violence ‘hot spots’ in the school environment,” here are sample ESMs you can use as a model for your own measures using the Results-Based Accountability framework:

Quadrant 1:
Measuring Quantity of Effort
("What/how much did we do?")

  • Number of middle and high school students participating in educational program.
  • Number of schools offering training in healthy relationships.
  • Number of schools increasing staff and teacher visibility in violence ‘hot spots’.

Quadrant 2:
Measuring Quality of Effort
("How well did we do it?")

  • Percent of middle and high school students participating in educational program.
  • Percent of students who indicated that the curriculum was worthwhile.
  • Percent of schools offering training in healthy relationships.
  • Percent of schools increasing staff and teacher visibility in violence ‘hot spots’.

Quadrant 3:
Measuring Quantity of Effect
("Is anyone better off?")

  • Number of high school students participating in educational program who showed an increase in knowledge after they finished the curriculum.
  • Number of high school students who reported that they understand the importance of healthy relationships, social norms training, and improved bystander awareness and behaviors.
  • Number of schools that reported a decrease in dating violence and sexual assault.

Quadrant 4:
Measuring Quality of Effect
("How are they better off?")

  • Percent of school students participating in educational program who showed an increase in knowledge after they finished the curriculum.
  • Percent of school students who reported that they understand the importance of healthy relationships, social norms training, and improved bystander awareness and behaviors.
  • Percent of schools that reported a decrease in dating violence and sexual assault.

Note. ESMs become stronger as they move from measuring quantity to measuring quality (moving from Quadrants 1 and 3, respectively, to Quadrants 2 and 4) and from measuring effort to measuring effect (moving from Quadrants 1 and 2, respectively, to Quadrants 3 and 4).

Learn More. Read how to create stronger ESMs and how to measure ESM impact more meaningfully through Results-Based Accountability.


References:

1 Hillenbrand-Gunn TL, Heppner MJ, Mauch PA, Park H. Men as allies: The efficacy of a high school rape prevention intervention. Journal of Counseling & Development 2010;88(1): 43-51.

2 Sargent KS, Jouriles EN, Rosenfield D, McDonald R. A high school-based evaluation of TakeCARE, a video bystander program to prevent adolescent relationship violence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 2017;46(3): 633–643.

3 Taylor BG, Stein ND, Mumford EA., et al. Shifting boundaries: An experimental evaluation of a dating violence prevention program in middle schools. Prevention Science 2013;14: 64–76.

4 Wolfe DA, Crooks C, Jaffe P, et al. A school-based program to prevent adolescent dating violence. Archives of Pediatics and Adolescent Medicine 2009;163: 692e9.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U02MC31613, MCH Advanced Education Policy, $3.5 M. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.