Does HealthSmart address sexual abuse prevention?

Each grade span includes at least one lesson on sexual abuse prevention.

At the K–2 grade level, Lesson 20 in Grade 1 helps students identify appropriate (safe) and inappropriate (unsafe) touch, understand that they are not at fault if someone touches them in inappropriate ways, and seek help if this happens. At the 3–5 grade level, Lesson 16 in Grade 3 helps students identify caring adults they could go to for help with problems, then introduces the concept of different kinds of touch and contrasts safe touches with two types of touch that can be problems: unsafe and secret touches (sexual abuse). Again, as in all HealthSmart lessons on sexual abuse, the teacher emphasizes that students are never at fault if they receive unsafe or secret touches. These lessons can be taught up or down a grade level depending on when sexual abuse prevention education is mandated by the district or state.

At the secondary grade spans, lessons on sexual abuse prevention can be found in the Violence & Injury Prevention units. These lessons can be used to help schools meet the requirements of Erin’s Law or other state legislation mandating education on sexual abuse prevention. It is recommended that the lessons around sexual abuse be taught in order and within the context of a larger health or sexuality education program that includes lessons on healthy relationships and basic sexuality education.

Middle School has two lessons on this topic. Lesson 16 has students participate in an exercise that helps them identify personal boundaries and practice steps they can take to protect themselves using assertive communication to defend their personal space. Lesson 17 helps students understand, recognize, and seek help for sexual abuse through responding to scenarios in which young people are in danger of being sexually abused, identifying resources, and practicing how to ask for help for themselves or a friend.

High School has three lessons on the topic. Lesson 17 focuses specifically on sexual exploitation and helps students learn how to recognize a potentially exploitive situation or relationship, both in person and online. Lesson 18 explores the definition of abuse; examines myths and facts, with an emphasis on understanding that sexual abuse is never a victim’s fault; and discusses why it is important for survivors of abuse to get help. Lesson 19 focuses on skills and steps students can take to help protect themselves from sexual abuse or sexual exploitation, including practicing assertive refusals for a variety of risky situations.