Parents in the know - PAAR
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Parents in the know

Parents in the Know (PITK), is a practice-based child sexual abuse prevention program developed by Pittsburgh Action Against Rape (PAAR) and supported by funding from the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape’s Vision of Hope Fund.  PITK builds skills in parents to protect children and promote healthy and safe relationships. 

PITK is highly interactive and innovative program for parents of children ages birth to 12 years of age and is provided throughout the community.  PITK encourages parents to use the bystander engagement skills to interrupt and prevent adult perpetration of child sexual abuse.  Parents also build skills to foster resiliency and build attachment with their children through talking, playing and spending quality time.  A strong relationship with a child is part of preventing child sexual abuse.

PITK helps parents talk with children, connect with other parents, and find strength and support within communities to protect children and encourage safe and healthy relationships. 

PAAR Highlights

  • PAAR’s prevention program Parents in the Know (PITK) is featured in Innovations in Evaluation A Report On Evaluation in the Field of Sexual Violence Prevention by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

Pittsburgh Action Against Rape (PAAR) has committed to evaluation in all of its prevention initiatives, regardless of the funding source or requirements. They have leveraged connections with independent evaluators and university faculty to carry out those evaluations. When working with external partners, PAAR remains in a leading role by defining the outcomes that need to be measured and putting the needs of the community at the forefront of the evaluation design. They emphasize finding ways to measure behavioral change and using evaluation strategies that offer participants meaningful opportunities to give voice to their experiences.

PAAR takes a long-term view on evaluation work and is leveraging opportunities to contribute to the evidence base for primary prevention. For example, in 2011 they developed a series of four workshops for parents to prevent child sexual abuse. In collaboration with an evaluator, they used a process measure to assess the level of participation in the workshops; a pre-post survey to measure changes in attitudes, behavioral intents, and actual behaviors; and brief qualitative interviews to document the social impact and diffusion of the intervention.

The results of that evaluation indicated the workshops were worth continuing with modifications to enhance particular outcomes. PAAR secured funding to implement a revised version of the workshops in six communities in Pennsylvania in collaboration with other sexual violence prevention programs. That implementation was evaluated, using a modified version of the pre-post survey, in collaboration with university partners. Simultaneously, two other states used the curriculum and evaluation tools to implement the workshops in multiple communities in their states.

PAAR is now working with the researchers and evaluator to pool the data across those various implementations and analyze the aggregated data with the hopes of publishing the findings in a peer-reviewed journal. This will be the first step to establishing a credible evidence base for the workshops. This is a vital step in bridging the gap between research and practice and building an evidence base for a much broader set of strategies than currently is available.