Rape Prevention & Education Grant Program

Background of the Program

Program Concepts

Current Activities

RPE Fact Sheet

RPE Program At a Glance


(Description below obtained from the CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control web site, http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/profiles/rpe/background.htm)

Background of the Program

Sexual violence is a significant public health problem in the United States (U.S.). The National Injury Control and Risk Survey conducted between 2001 and 2003 found that 10.2% of women and 2.1% of men reported experiencing a completed rape at some time in their lives (Basile, Chen, Black & Saltzman, 2007). Additional information on sexual violence is available on-line.

Sexual violence, including rape, is preventable. Recognizing this, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act in 1994. This landmark legislation established the Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The goal of the RPE program is to strengthen sexual violence prevention efforts. It operates in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and six U.S. territories.

Program Concepts

Primary prevention is the cornerstone of the RPE program. Program activities are guided by a set of prevention principles that include:

Preventing first-time perpetration and victimization, reducing risk factors while enhancing protective factors associated with sexual violence perpetration and victimization, using evidence when planning prevention programs, incorporating behavior and social change theories into prevention programs, and evaluating prevention efforts and using the results to improve future program plans.

Prevention requires understanding the circumstances and factors that influence violence. CDC uses a four-level, social ecological model to better explain sexual violence and potential strategies for prevention. This model considers the complex interplay between individual, relationship, community, and societal factors, and allows us to address risk and protective factors from multiple domains.

The RPE program encourages the development of comprehensive prevention strategies through a continuum of activities that address all levels of the social ecological model. It is important that these activities are developmentally appropriate for the audience and are conducted at different life stages. This approach is more likely to prevent sexual violence across a lifetime, than any single intervention or policy change.

Current Activities
Currently funded grantees are:

  • Implementing a variety of evidence-informed and culturally relevant prevention strategies such as educational seminars, professional training, coalition building, and changing social norms.  Prevention strategies are conducted by state health departments, rape crisis centers, state sexual assault coalitions, and other public and private nonprofit entities;
  • Operating statewide and community hotlines;
  • Building state and local capacity for program planning, implementation, and evaluation; and
    • Developing a comprehensive sexual violence primary prevention plan for their states.

Rape Prevention & Education (RPE) Program Fact Sheet (NSVRC & NAESV, 2011)

  • This 4 page fact sheet provides an overview of the U.S. National Rape Prevention and Education Program (RPE) including information on purpose, scope and impact. 

RPE Fact Sheet (CDC)

  • This fact sheet describes the background and guiding principles of the CDC's Rape Prevention & Education (RPE) program.  It also describes current program activities and the CDC's role in sexual violence prevention.