Skilling Adolescent Girls to Resist Abusive Relationship Dynamics: A Pilot Program Evaluation

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A program to help girls avoid chronic partner abuse was piloted as an elective program in 10 Victorian secondary schools. The program was based on the Dyadic Slippery-Slope model of chronic partner abuse. It aimed to build participants' skills in recognising and responding assertively to early warning-sign behaviours by a partner. Five modules were delivered over one day: Choosing, Noticing, Responding, Ending and Bouncing Back. This paper reports on the results of a noncontrolled pretest to posttest evaluation, with a 3-month follow-up period. Seventy-five girls (M = 14.7 years) contributed preprogram and postprogram data. After the program, they demonstrated heightened awareness of the risks associated with warning-sign behaviours, increased self-confidence, decreased victim blaming, and more assertive intentions. Participants' assertiveness was related to their risk awareness, but only following the program. The program's focus on skill building is believed to have been crucial to its success. Although skills-based empowerment is a promising approach to preventing chronic partner abuse, more rigorous and extensive evaluation of this approach is needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-132
Number of pages17
JournalAustralian Educational and Developmental Psychologist
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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