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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Kentucky: Violence Bystander Intervention Programs May Require Adaptation to Include Experiences of LGBTQ+ Youth

Bystander intervention programs to counter youth sexual violence may benefit from explicitly engaging sexual minority youth in intervention efforts, or adapting intervention programs to include attitudes that shape the experience of sexual minority high school youth.

A new trial by investigators at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health addresses this gap by evaluates the effectiveness of bystander intervention training among sexual majority and minority high school students known be to at increased risk of sexual violence. The resulting publication, “Bystander Program Effectiveness to Reduce Violence and Violence Acceptance Within Sexual Minority Male and Female High School Students Using a Cluster RCT” appears in Prevention Science.

In the trial, Kentucky high schools were randomized to intervention or control conditions. In intervention schools, educators provided school-wide Green Dot presentations and intensive bystander training to student popular opinion leaders. Each spring from 2010 to 2014, students attending 26 high schools completed anonymous surveys about violence acceptance and violent events, yielding a sample of 74,836 surveys — with no missing data over the 5 years.

Investigators found that sexual violence acceptance scores declined significantly over time in intervention versus control schools, among all but sexual minority males. This intervention was associated with reductions in both perpetration and victimization of sexual violence, sexual harassment, and physical dating violence among sexual majority  — but not sexual minority — youth. Both sexual minority and majority youth experienced reductions in stalking victimization and perpetration associated with the intervention.

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