Despite the widespread use of school-based abuse prevention programs, few studies support their effectiveness in helping children avoid victimization. Most studies that evaluate prevention programs measure changes in children's knowledge and not subsequent behavior. Further, the link between knowledge, behavior, and the ability to avoid or reduce victimization has not been established. In this study the impact of a school-based prevention program was assessed by surveying students at a high school in southern California where students from feeder elementary and junior high schools were known to have had abuse prevention programs available to them. Data were collected anonymously on 137 high school students during their Health class. A quasi-experimental design was utilized, comparing the 72 students who had attended one or more school-based abuse prevention program with the 65 who stated they had not participated in a prevention program. Demographic similarities between the two groups were established. Students who attended prevention programs were more knowledgeable about abuse concepts and reported fewer incidents of abuse. However, the effectiveness of students' responses to abuse, even when they were using strategies taught by the prevention programs, was variable. Questions about the effectiveness of these strategies with familial and nonfamilial abuse are discussed. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.