ELIZA Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ELIZA), Athens, Greece
Time: 2016 - Present
Services Provided: Training and Consultation
Statistics show one in six Greek children are victims of at least one incident of sexual abuse during childhood. Greece lacked primary prevention programs for sexual abuse, and the systems and infrastructure to support victims of abuse are virtually non-existent. To help remedy this problem, in 2016, The NYSPCC partnered with the ELIZA Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children to implement a ground-breaking child sexual abuse prevention initiative throughout Greece. Using The NYSPCC’s evidence-based Safe Touches Curriculum, this pioneering work was designed for children ages 5-9, and was first implemented in schools in Athens then expanded to more rural and remote Greek island locations. This innovative partnership, funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, was a huge step forward for child protection efforts in Greece, increasing awareness and education of child sexual abuse throughout the country.
To help support the ELIZA Team in the adoption and implementation of Safe Touches, members of The NYSPCC team conducted a multi-day, on-site training and program consultation initiative for ELIZA in Athens, Greece. The multi-day training included a pre-training meeting and field observation with ELIZA’s Safe Touches team leadership to help better understand the cultural landscape of Greece and further assess specific group training needs. ELIZA’s two-day training covered an overview of child sexual abuse, Safe Touches program theory and research, program implementation and maintenance, and workshop facilitation. Training participants had an opportunity to practice workshop facilitation and apply program theory with observation and coaching provided by The NYSPCC staff. Training time was also dedicated to discussing and addressing cultural considerations and adaptations that could impact program implementation and fidelity. A consultative follow-up meeting with ELIZA’s Safe Touches team leadership was then held to further discuss programmatic and research implementation plans.
The NYSPCC continues to collaborate with ELIZA on the implementation and expansion of Safe Touches in Greece. To date, 2,600 children have participated in the Safe Touches program and 1,000 teachers and 2,000 parents have received child sexual abuse prevention training. In addition, research conducted by ELIZA has supported findings of NYSPCC research, in that 2nd and 3rd graders showed significant improvement of concept knowledge after participating in the Safe Touches workshop.