Educators Need Prevention Training


Child Sexual Abuse and Academic Achievement

Although most do not realize it, child sexual abuse is one of the most significant risks facing children today. One in ten children will be a victim of sexual abuse, and the consequences of this abuse can be devastating and lifelong.

Research demonstrates that children who are sexually abused perform at far lower levels than their non-abused counterparts.

  • Cognitive ability, academic achievement, and memory are lower among sexually abused children (Friedrich, et al., 1994; Sadeh, et al., 1994; Trickett, et al., 1994; Wells, et al., 1997).
  • Sexually abused children have higher rates of absenteeism (Leiter, et al., 1997), grade retention (Reyome, 1994), and special education services (Reyome, 1994).
  • In a study of sexually abused 7-12 year-old girls, 39% displayed academic difficulties, 24% had repeated a grade, 15% were enrolled in a remedial class, 48% reported below average grades, and over 37% displayed cognitive ability below the 25th percentile (Daignault & Hebert, 2009).

Learn more about FREE training for Texas educators and school personnel.
Learn more about meeting the H.B. 283 mandate for school personnel in Utah.

The Role of Educators

Educators may be the single most important group in the prevention and recognition of child sexual abuse. Not only do they interact with large numbers of children and their parents, but children who disclose abuse often tell their teacher, guidance counselor, or other trusted school employee.

School personnel are the source of over 50% of abuse reports made by professionals to authorities.

Despite this, only about one-third of educators receive child sexual abuse training, either as part of their teacher training coursework or through continuing education. In fact, 24% of teachers report that they have never received instruction, either oral or written, on their state’s mandated reporting process.

"I have never had any training in child sexual abuse prevention. This whole program was very
eye opening. I know what to look for and
how to try and help the child. I can make a
difference and save someone if
I feel a situation is not ok."
- Educator


The Need for Training

A survey of educators taking Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children® training in 2012 clearly demonstrate the importance of educator training. Prior to training, only 72% of educators felt they were adequately prepared to address the child sexual abuse issues they might face in the classroom. There was a 31% improvement in knowledge and attitudes as a result of the training. Specific highlights include:

  • Knowledge of preventive behaviors increased 35%.
  • Knowledge of mandated report increased 81%.
  • On a scale of 0-5, respondents reported a 4.8 willingness to practice preventive behaviors.

"Everyone needs this training! I truly believe that many lives can be saved
through this education and informational curriculum. I wish that I
had experienced it sooner."
- Educator


By anyone’s standard, child sexual abuse is a major factor in academic achievement. If this abuse were prevented, would we see increases in overall academic performance?

Simple logic tells us that we would.

Get Started!



Daignault, I.V. & Hebert, M. (2009). Profiles of school adaptation: Social, behavioral, and academic functioning in sexually abused girls. Child Abuse & Neglect, 33, 102-115.

Finkelhor, D., Turner, H., Ormrod, R., Hamby, S., & Kracke, K. (2009). Children’s exposure to violence: A comprehensive national survey. Juvenile Justice Bulletin, October 2009.

Kendler, K.S., Bulik, C.M., Silberg, J., Hetteman, J.M., Meyers, J., & Prescott, C.A. (2000). Childhood sexual abuse and adult psychiatric and substance use disorders in women: An epidemiology and cotwin control analysis. Archives of General Psychiatry, 57, 953-959.

Kenny, M. (2004). Teachers’ attitudes toward and knowledge of child maltreatment. Child Abuse& Neglect, 28, 1311–1319

Kilpatrick, D. G., Ruggiero, K. J., Acierno, R., Saunders, B. E., Resnick, H. S., & Best, C. L. (2003). Violence and risk of PTSD, major depression, substance abuse/dependence, and comorbidity: Results from the National Survey of Adolescents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71, 692-700.

Kilpatrick, D.G., Saunders, B.E., & Smith, D.W. (2003). Youth victimization: Prevalence and implications. Retrieved April 17, 2010, from

Molnar, B.E., Buka, S.L., & Kessler, R.C. (2001). Child sexual abuse and subsequent psychopathology: Results from the national comorbidity survey. American Journal of Public Health, 91, 753-760.

Sedlak, A.J., Mettenburg, J., Basena, M., Petta, I., McPherson, K., Greene, A., and Li, S. (2010). Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse And Neglect (NIS–4): Report to Congress, Executive Summary. Washington, C: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.