Study title
Optimus Study Switzerland
Ref study 10805
Study language English
Contributing institutions
  • Health
  • Crime
  • Victimization
  • Sexual behavior
Geographical space
  • Switzerland
The Optimus Study is a cross-national initiative on child sexual victimization in the context of other forms of maltreatment, and aims to provide much-needed evidence on the risks and protective factors for children and youth. Its goal is ultimately to reduce the incidence of abuse and improve services for those affected by applying the best social science research methods available to create an evidence base in order to influence policy, practice, and funding. The Optimus Study has successfully developed a research model that integrates standardized population-based survey methods with health and social statistics tracking to assess prevalence and response rates (Agency Survey), as well as a framework to advance the field through translating the knowledge generated by the research into policy and practice. It also strives to advance international epidemiology research on violence against children. The population survey in Switzerland collected lifetime and previous-year prevalence of sexual victimization experiences for a nationally representative sample of youth from 15-17, as well as information on other types of maltreatment, risk factors, protective factors, and consequences of victimization.
A final report including all main results has been published. Please see Averdijk, M., Müller-Johnson, K., and Eisner, M. (2012). Sexual victimization of children and adolescents in Switzerland. Zurich, Switzerland: UBS Optimus Foundation. Available at
Methods (description)
Please find a detailed description of the method in the final report cited above. The survey was conducted in state schools throughout Switzerland. A pilot study was conducted in the canton of Zurich. The standardized questionnaire was Internet-based and conducted through laptop computers. Due to the multilingual culture in Switzerland, the questionnaires were translated into three languages - German, French and Italian. Sampling was based on a list from the Swiss Federal Statistical Office containing all state schools and classes in Switzerland. A stratified target sample was drawn. Stratification was based on geographic regions and the strata were the seven Swiss "great regions" and the 26 cantons. Based on the school size, a Probability Proportion to Size (PPS) cluster sampling approach was used to draw schools and classes. Several different levels of approval needed to be passed. First, the project team sought ethical approval from all cantonal ethics committees separately. Second, approval from each cantonal Ministry of Education was sought. Third, the selected schools were contacted through an invitation letter containing a description of the study and an approval letter from the cantonal Ministry of Education.
Methods (instruments)
  • Other method instrument : Standardized survey completed on laptops
  • Averdijk, Margit; Müller-Johnson, K.; Eisner, Manuel. 2012. Sexual victimization of children and adolescents. Zurich, Switzerland: UBS Optimus Foundation.
  • Schönbucher, V.; Maier, T.; Held, L.; Mohler-Kuo, M.; Schnyder, U.; Landolt, MA. 2011. Prevalence of child sexual abuse in Switzerland: a systematic review. In: Swiss Medical Weekly 140, w13123. Online: 10.4414/smw.2011.13123
Financed by
Study type
Data availability
Source (Updates) Web
Date created 26.05.2014
Date modified 26.05.2014
Start - End date 01.05.2008 - 28.02.2012