University of Kentucky researchers have observed a significant reduction in sexual violence perpetration and victimization among Kentucky high school students, according to a recently published study on the “Green Dot” bystander intervention program.

Led by Ann Coker and Heather Bush in UK’s Center for Research on Violence Against Women (CRVAW), the study is the largest and longest randomized controlled trial of bystander intervention programs focusing on sexual violence prevention in high schools. Published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the study reveals the implementation of Green Dot in Kentucky high schools decreased not only sexual violence perpetration, but related forms of violence including sexual harassment, stalking, and dating violence.

“This research is great news for parents, schools, young adults, and adolescents across Kentucky and the USA,” said Coker, who is the Verizon Wireless Endowed Chair in CRVAW and professor in the UK College of Medicine. “We found that sexual violence can be prevented — this violence is not inevitable. Adolescents and young adults can learn how to identify risky situations and safely intervene to prevent violence.”

"Green Dot Across the Bluegrass: Evaluation of a Primary Prevention Intervention" (5U01CE001675-05) was funded by a five year, $2 million dollar cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The purpose of Green Dot is to train high school students to actively "by-stand" to reduce violence. The grant involved outreach to high school students as well as follow-up studies to determine the effectiveness of the “Green Dot” strategy in reducing dating and sexual violence among teenagers. 

The published study is available here and a UK article about the study is available here.