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In early 2014, the Department of Defense (DoD) asked the RAND National Defense Research Institute to conduct an independent assessment of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and gender discrimination in the military. The resulting study, the RAND Military Workplace Study (RMWS), invited close to 560,000 active- and reserve-component service members to participate in a survey fielded in August and September of 2014, making it one of the largest surveys of its kind ever conducted for DoD. More than 170,000 service members completed the survey. Compared with prior DoD studies, the RMWS takes a new approach to counting individuals in the military who experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment, and gender discrimination in the past year.

The RMWS provides DoD with unprecedented detail on the frequency of criminal sexual assault against its members, the nature and context of those assaults, and how they differ for men and women in each branch of service. The study also provides new evidence on the prevalence and nature of sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the military. Detailed results, including recommendations, are documented in four comprehensive volumes (available at; some of the study's major conclusions about the experiences of DoD service members are highlighted in this brief.

This bulletin provides ten tips for advocates on effective sexual violence prevention messaging. Practical examples and list of key resources are included for more information. 

Cover of the PDF version of Five Things Things About Sexual Assault Kits


This fact sheet from the National Insitute of Justice outlines what research has told us about sexual assault kits:

1. No one knows the number of kits nationwide that have not been submitted for testing.
2. Little is known about the age of unsubmitted kits.
3. Submitting a kit to a crime lab does not mean the lab will obtain usable DNA.
4. Even if the police have a suspect, testing a kit can be useful for a number of reasons.
5. The cost to test a sexual assault kit varies widely.


Spring/Summer 2015 The Resource cover imageThe Spring/Summer 2015 edition of The Resource shines a spotlight on campus sexual assault. Included in the special campus section are the following articles:

  • 'The Hunting Ground': An interview with filmmaker Amy Ziering reveals it wasn't difficult to find survivors of campus sexual violence who wanted to tell their stories for the documentary film. "The sad thing is, there are way too many survivors," Ziering said.
  • Director's Viewpoint: Karen Baker, Director of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, talks about a busy Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April 2015, the theme of which was "It's Time to Act: Safer Campuses, Brighter Futures. Prevent Sexual Violence."
  • Prevention preparedness: Are coalitions in the U.S. ready to lead primary prevention, campus-based efforts?
  • 'From compliance to commitment': The North Carolina Campus Consortium hosted its first-ever Campus Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence Peer Educator's Summit.
  • Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Photos from 30 busy days of activism.

Other topics covered in this issue include: effective social media advocacy, The Six Pillars for Prevention of child sexual abuse, the 2015 National Sexual Assault Conference in Los Angeles, and more.

Want to read about a topic that hasn't been covered? Send ideas to with the subject line "Resource Story Idea."

This guide is designed for sexual assault program advocates working with non-offending parents and/or caregivers of children who have experienced sexual assault. The suggestions and strategies are intended for use with children under the age of 13. In Spanish.

This report provides research results about Houston's victim notification process. In Houston, victim notification involves reestablishing contact with victims whose cases are reopened for investigation as a result of a match in the law enforcement database Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), from
victims’ recently tested sexual assault kits (SAKs).This action research assesses the implementation of the Complainant Notification and Hotline Protocols
by interviewing a small number of victims about their experience with notification by Houston Police Department investigators and the justice advocate, an advocate for victims.
The data analysis revealed multiple themes from victims’ notification experience, including:
  • Victims appreciated having more choice/control.
  • The time lapse had an important effect on their experience of moving on from the assault.
  • Several victims were trying to make meaning of their experience.
  • Deciding about whether to participate in their case going forward created a moral dilemma for some victims.
  • Victims faced many barriers in their current lives.
  • The notification process created both danger and opportunity for victims.
  • The uncertainty about the case outcome weighed heavily upon victims.

Additional reports from this research project can be found at:

This report includes research on creating victim notification protocols.  Six major themes emerged from survey respondents regarding the process of developing and implementing the Protocols. They include: 1)Strategic planning, 2) Organizational support, 3) Active partnerships, 4) Resources, 5) Outreach, and 6)Victim-centered approach. Of the six themes, researchers identified the victim-centered approach as significant to the process of developing and implementing victim notification protocols.

Additional reports from this research project can be found at:

This report describes research on victim and professional perspectives on the delivery of victim notification procedures, implementation of new victim notification processes, victim engagement within the criminal justice system, and recommendations for improvements.

Victims and professionals made five recommendations.

  • Law enforcement should not assume that a victim does or does not want to be notified.
  • All victims should be given the opportunity to be notified, and the decision for notification should be a choice provided to all victims instead of something imposed on them by someone else.
  • Mechanisms for notification should be flexible and thoughtful and incorporate choices for victims.
  • Victims should have a choice in whether their case moves forward based on DNA testing.
  • Resources and support are imperative to the notification process.

Additional reports from this research project can be found at:

Evaluating our work helps us to better understand where our strategies are working and where we may need to change course in preventing sexual violence. This bulletin discusses ways that organizations can nurture a culture of evaluation and draws from conversations with preventionists at multiple state health departments and sexual assault coalitions.

A new report describes findings about unsubmitted sexual assault kits in Wayne County (Detroit), Michigan. A multidisciplinary team investigated the situation and found a number of effective and sustainable responses and ways to prevent the problem from recurring.

The team found several underlying “risk factors” that contributed to the large quantity of unsubmitted SAKs in Detroit, including:

  1. Victim-blaming beliefs and behaviors by police.
  2. No written protocol for submitting kits to the lab for testing.
  3. Budget cuts that reduced the number of law enforcement and crime lab personnel.
  4. High turnover in police leadership.
  5. Lack of community-based victim advocacy services.

The final report gives a detailed look at their experience, including lessons learned from performing a census of SAKs, uncovering factors that contributed to the problem, testing of a sample of 1,600 kits, and developing victim-centered, trauma-informed notification protocols.


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