and while some have shown great promise, only a fraction have been rigorously evaluated.
Strong evidence indicates that school-based interventions are a successful primary prevention strategy in a variety of domains. Based on a recent systematic and rigorous review, for example, the Community Preventive Services Task Force found strong evidence that universal school-based programs are effective for the prevention of violent and aggressive behavior (Hahn et al., 2007). Evidence regarding the effectiveness of prevention programs for child maltreatment is less conclusive. A 2009 systematic review of reviews of child maltreatment prevention interventions found that school-based prevention programs for child sexual abuse are effective in increasing knowledge and disclosure of child sexual abuse among both students and teachers (Mikton and Butchart, 2009). Despite these encouraging findings, however, evidence is insufficient to determine whether school-based programs designed to prevent child maltreatment reduce or prevent abuse.
Because school-based interpersonal violence and commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors share related and overlapping aspects (e.g., violence and victimization, social isolation), examining how the education sector has sought to address interpersonal violence through prevention and intervention efforts can be informative. The following sections provide a brief overview of the nature and extent of bullying and adolescent dating violence among students in the United States, and of strategies used by the education sector to prevent and respond to these problems.
Public concern about bullying behavior and bullying victimization has been growing, in part as a result of highly publicized cases of bullying that have led to extreme violence and suicide. These events have heightened awareness and galvanized support for school-based bullying prevention efforts.
Bullying includes aggressive and unwanted verbal, social, and/or physical behavior (typically among school-aged children and adolescents) that involves a real or perceived imbalance of power. Recent research suggests that bullying is a common experience for many children and adolescents. In one study, for example, 28 percent of students aged 12-18 reported having been bullied at school during the 2009-2010 school year, and 23 percent of public schools reported that bullying had occurred among students on a daily or weekly basis during that same period (Robers et al., 2012). Another recent study, using data collected by the National Survey of Children’s