The Preliminary study on the impact of school concepts for prevention and intervention activities concerning sexual violence against children and adolescents starts at the open question to which extent the effects and efforts of prevention activities in schools are dependent on the manner and quality of their delivery and on their structural implementation.

This question is important for all institutions with educational, upbringing and care tasks, in which schools take on a particularly important role, as they are able to reach almost all children and adolescents over many years of them growing up. In addition to the impact analysis of prevention and intervention concepts in schools, the study’s interest lies also in methodical and methodological findings in regards to the possibility to investigative the complex organizational structure of schools.

Therefore, this preliminary study focusses on the development and testing of as well as the reflection on contact and survey instruments. At the same time, different perspectives are being measured and put into analytical relation to one other. Overall, the preliminary study aims to advance the development of suitable instruments for impact studies in accordance to the high demands placed upon the research field school.

Methods

A random sample of 40 general-education secondary schools in Rhineland-Palatinate (German Federal Land) is questioned in a quantitative online survey. Participating schools receive feedback on their results in compliance with data protection regulations. In detail, the following topics are explored in questioning three different groups of people involved in each of the schools are questioned and compared:

 8th / 9th grade students

An online tool directed at 8th and 9th grade students in secondary school is being developed and tested in order to examine their perspectives on the protection efforts of their school and the potential impact of prevention and intervention concepts on them. The main goals of this approach are to strengthen the addressee perspective in research on prevention concepts activities and to develop contact and survey instruments usable for a study with more prospective more in depth impact . Furthermore, the long-term focus lies on (1) providing schools with a self-evaluation tool as part of the implementation or further development of protection concepts, and (2) developing an online survey instrument for elementary school students (more information on this is provided below).

Among other things, the questions in the online survey investigate:

(1) the students’ perspective on the presence (of elements) of school prevention and intervention activitiess

(2) the effects (of the elements) of prevention concepts on the students’ feeling of security in school and on the internet

(3) the influence of those concepts on self-protection strategies, readiness to seek help and access to help, as well as the willingness to offer support when in a bystander situation

(4) whether they are informed about and follow self-protection strategies on the Internet

Teachers and school social workers

So far, the group of teachers and school social workers have hardly been included in research on prevention and intervention activities. In their mediating role, however, they could be very important for the effectiveness of these efforts. It is therefore very important to advance knowledge of valid contact and survey instruments for this group of school employees.

Among others, the questions in the online tool investigate:
(1) the teachers’ and social workers’ own role in the context of prevention concepts
(2) the attitude adopted in regards to these concepts
(3) their level of information regarding the problem of sexual violence
(4) their knowledge and skills in dealing with sexual violence in schools (e.g. in relation to intervention and counselling offers)

School administrators

Up until now, school managements have been the focus of research on prevention and intervention activities in schools. It is beneficial to include them in this study, not only for the reason of comparison but also in regards to the specific knowledge of school prevention concepts and their development dynamics. School administrators are usually able to gain expert insight into these efforts through their special function and long work in school contexts.

The questions in the online tool relate to:
(1) the status of planning, development and implementation of their prevention and intervention concept
(2) its structural anchoring
(3) the effects of this process perceived by them
(4) how they are trying to weigh up and agree on the various prevention concerns addressed to schools (this question aims at an assessment of development barriers to protection concepts in schools)