Prevention of Sexual Abuse and Promotion of Emotional Safety in Educational Settings - APA 2020

High school and college students often cite educators as primary sources of inspiration. Unfortunately, educators may also be sources of emotional stress and trauma. The first paper presents results of a successful pilot program at a California university designed to increase emotional safety in the college classroom, an intervention which proved particularly powerful for minority students. The second and third papers are from the largest study to data on sexual abuse by educators, now with close to 1000 participants, which targeted recent high school graduates. The second paper focuses on the prevalence of inappropriate sexualized behaviors on the part of educators toward students, noting student beliefs about the nature, consequences and morality of these behaviors. Second, a subsample of the participants in these research series were asked to generate prevention strategies regarding student-educator sexual contacts, and to comment on prevention strategies generated by a prior focus group. All presentations are geared toward increasing the sense of safety and protection from educator-induced stress and trauma for young people in educational settings.

Presented by:

Chair: Constance J Dalenberg, PhD

Presenter 1: Jacob Ambrose, MA

Presenter 2: Lisa M Nunez, MA

Presenter 3: Meline Arzoumanian, PhD

Learning Objectives:

1. Name on highly rated prevention strategy for sexual abuse in high schools.
2. Discuss the prevalence for educator abuse in high schools.
3. Be able to describe two methods of enhancing minority student comfort in the classroom.


Dr. Dalenberg is the director of the Trauma Research Institute (TRI) and former president of Division 56. Presenters are associate researchers of TRI. Jacob Ambrose, MA is a PhD student studying cross racial rejection sensitivity and educational safety procedures. Lisa Nunez, MA is a doctoral intern at VA Puget Sound, American Lake and her research centers around sexual abuse. Dr. Arzoumanian has worked as a forensic evaluator and an adjunct professor, focusing her work on PTSD and dissociation.


Barth, J., Bermetz, L., Heim, E., Trelle, S., & Tonia, T. (2013). The current prevalence of child sexual abuse worldwide: a systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Public Health, 58, 469-483.
Caplan, P. J., & Ford, J. C. (2014). The voices of diversity: What students of diverse races/ethnicities and both sexes tell us about their college experiences and their perceptions about their institutions’ progress toward diversity. Aporia, 6(3), 30-69.

- Clark, C. R., Mercer, S. H., Zeigler-Hill, V., & Dufrene, B. A. (2012). Barriers to the success of ethnic minority students in school psychology graduate programs. School Psychology Review, 41(2), 176-192.

- Grant, B., Shakeshaft, C., Mueller, J. (2019) Prevention of preK-12 school employee sexual misconduct and abuse. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 28, 125-128.

- Robert, C. E., & Thompson, D. P. (2019). Educator sexual misconduct and Texas educator discipline database construction. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 28(1).
  • Prevention of Sexual Abuse and Promotion - Recording
  • Prevention of Sexual Abuse and Promotion - CE TEST
  • Division 56 Course Survey
Completion rules
  • All units must be completed
  • Leads to a certification with a duration: Forever