Runaway girls whose sexual health has been compromised were mostly able to move on with their lives after being part of an intervention programme, according to a new study.
The Runaway Intervention Programme (RIP) at the Children's Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota, has nurses working beyond the clinic with girls who have been sexually exploited or abused, but also helps those who are at risk of suffering the same problems.
Research on the programme was led by Elizabeth Saewyc from the University of British Columbia and Laurel Edinburgh from the Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, and both concluded found positive results.
Ms Saewyc said: "By six and 12 months into the program, the girls had improved so much that in most areas they were indistinguishable from girls in school who had never been abused."
The RIP program educates the girls on health, as well as working with them to form strategies to keep them in school and use their support networks to heal from the trauma of sexual abuse.