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Sexual Violence on Campus: Strategies for Prevention

This is a blog post from Karla Vierthaler, Advocacy and Resources Director at NSVRC. 

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recently released Sexual Violence on Campus: Strategies for Prevention. This tool offers an overview of how to approach sexual violence prevention on college campuses with real-world examples from the field.

As part of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, the CDC was tasked with identifying promising practices to prevent sexual violence on college and university campuses. To this end, the CDC, in collaboration with the Department of Justice’s Office of Violence against Women, Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) Office, and the Department of Education, hosted two meetings:

  • A Think Tank Meeting bringing together30 subject matter experts including health educators, college/university prevention educators, students, and administrators, law enforcement, researchers, etc. The group met for two days to discuss the status of sexual violence prevention and policy.
  • An Action Planning Meeting of 15 Rape Prevention Education (RPE) grantees from state departments of health and their partners from state sexual violence coalitions and colleges/universities.

The key takeaways from these meetings were organized into five categories which are explored in the report:

  1. Comprehensive Prevention- How incorporate prevention is integral to all efforts to address sexual violence on campus
  2. Infrastructure- Ways to ensure sexual violence prevention is institutionalized through policy, on-going training, well trained staff, and physical spaces.
  3. Audience- How to identify the wide array of groups who need to be part of sexual violence prevention, and engage them in prevention efforts.
  4. Partnerships and Sustainability- Steps to cultivate relationships with key partners on campus (leadership, students, student health services), create specific positions to lead prevention efforts, and engaging off-campus resources (emergency departments and community based rape crisis centers).
  5. Evaluation-Opportunities to prioritize evaluation of prevention efforts and train staff to engage in evaluation.

According to CDC, these categories and steps are the core of preventing sexual violence on campus. The report guides campuses in implementing each step with talking points and reviews promising programs at colleges and universities across the country.

Join us on December 6 as we participate in a Prevent Connect webinar on this report!

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