Penn State University – The Safe and Healthy Communities Initiative, University Park, Pennsylvania

Time: 2018 - Present

Services Provided: Training and Consultation

Partnership Overview:

Child sexual abuse affects an average of 2,300 children in Pennsylvania each year. Untreated, victims can suffer mental and physical health repercussions throughout their lives. The Safe and Healthy Communities Initiative (SHCI), a cooperative project between Penn State’s Child Maltreatment Solutions Network (CMSN) and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), is aiming to reduce rates of child sexual abuse in Pennsylvania through a three-year research initiative that implements evidence-based programs and methodologies targeting the general public, students, and parents. Although the initiative is currently being implemented in five counties (Bucks, Chester, Somerset-Cambria, and York) the goal is to expand the effort throughout Pennsylvania and ultimately inform prevention models across the nation.

Following a rigorous selection process, of programs nation-wide, The NYSPCC’s evidence-based Safe Touches program was chosen as the student intervention program for the project. In 2018, The NYSPCC’s Training Institute conducted a multi-day training with representatives from each of the counties responsible for implementing Safe Touches. Topics covered included: overview of child sexual abuse, Safe Touches program theory and research, program implementation and maintenance, workshop facilitation, and responding to disclosures of abuse. In addition to providing the Safe Touches Implementation and Facilitator Training, The NYSPCC also trained the counties in our child sexual abuse prevention curricula for educators and school staff.

To date, Safe Touches has reached over 13,000 children in the state of Pennsylvania and the research team is working to synthesize the data being collected.