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27-03-2021 | Original Paper | Uitgave 5/2021

Journal of Child and Family Studies 5/2021

Engaging Parents in Zimbabwe to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse: A Pilot Evaluation

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 5/2021
Sarah Shaw, Haddi Jatou Cham, Eboni Galloway, Kate Winskell, Zivai Mupambireyi, Constance Kasese, Zwashe Bangani, Kim Miller
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Data from the Violence Against Children Surveys reveal alarming rates of child sexual abuse (CSA) in sub-Saharan Africa, highlighting the critical need for public health programming to prevent and respond to this issue. This paper describes the results of the Families Matter! Program (FMP) pilot evaluation study conducted in two urban suburbs of Harare, Zimbabwe to measure the effect of a new FMP session about preventing and responding to CSA. FMP is an evidence-based intervention for parents of adolescents designed to promote positive parenting practices and effective parent–child communication about sexual risk reduction and HIV prevention. We applied a pre/post-prospective study design to assess changes in CSA-related indicators such as parental monitoring, parent–child communication about CSA, and ability to respond to instances of CSA. Parents and their children (ages 9–12) enrolled in the study as dyads and participated in two assessments administered via ACASI prior to and three months following the intervention, with 248 dyads completing both assessments. Parents and children reported significantly higher levels of parental monitoring (p < 1.001) and communication about CSA after the intervention (p < 0.001). Significantly more parents also reported conversations with people in their community about CSA (p < 0.001) and knowledge of where to access services if their child was abused (p < 0.001). The pilot evaluation suggests that FMP equipped parents with skills and knowledge to prevent and respond to CSA, and increased communication regarding CSA within communities, further normalizing the need to address and talk about child abuse, CSA in particular.

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