- Primary Prevention
- Socio–Ecological Model
- Spectrum of Prevention
- 9 Principles of Prevention Programming
- Prevention and Health
The prevention of sexual violence requires a comprehensive, community-wide approach. When we speak of prevention, we are not talking just about stopping someone from doing something in the moment, but about changing the cultural perspective and thought process so that violent behaviors are not even seen as an option.
Public Health professionals define three levels of prevention: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Historically, the sexual assault movement was in reaction mode – responding to the crisis, supporting survivors who had already been sexually assaulted, and raising awareness of available resources. Over the last decade or so, the movement has shifted toward focusing more on primary prevention – intervening “up-stream”, or addressing the root causes of violence in order to prevent it from happening in the first place.
- The History of Violence As a Public Health Issue – CDC (Centers for Disease Control) publication.
- Sexual Violence Prevention: Beginning the Dialogue – CDC publication; good overview of the levels of prevention.
- Risk and Protective Factors – list from the CDC of factors shown to indicate a greater likelihood of perpetrating sexual assault.
What would it take to raise a generation of boys and girls who grow up without violence as their model for how to behave? Those boys and girls need to receive positive, violence-free messages from their peers, the adults in their lives, and the pop culture that surrounds them. In the movement, we refer to this as the Socio-Ecological Model:
Individual behavioral choices are affected by one’s own individual identity and belief systems as they relate to messages, beliefs, boundaries, and expectations expressed by significant others and other family members, parents, peer groups, school or other social community, and the culture at large. [For more information, see the CDC publication “Sexual Violence Prevention: Beginning the Dialogue”].
From an institutional perspective, another way of thinking about this is to use the “spectrum of prevention” model:
|6.||Influencing Policy and Legislation||Developing strategies to change laws and policies to influence outcomes.|
|5.||Changing Organizational Practices||Adopting regulations and shaping norms to improve health and safety.|
|4.||Fostering Coalitions and Networks||Convening groups and individuals for broader goals and greater impact.|
|3.||Educating Providers||Informing providers who will transmit skills and knowledge to others.|
|2.||Promoting Community Education||Reaching groups of people with information and resources to promote health and safety.|
|1.||Strengthening Individual Knowledge and Skills||Enhancing an individual's capability of preventing injury or illness and promoting safety.|
[the Prevention Institute has a One Page Description of The Spectrum of Prevention handout of the information above].
You can read more and download resources at the Prevention Institute Spectrum of Prevention page.
The prevention of violence can take many forms; as the field has grown, practitioners have begun to identify best practices in terms of those things that make programming most effective. The CDC has identified “9 Principles of Primary Prevention”, concepts borrowed from other prevention efforts (substance abuse, risky sexual behavior, school failure, juvenile delinquency & violence) which have proven successful in shifting people’s behavior over time. To be successful, when planning prevention programming your organization should consider the following:
- Varied Methods
- Sufficient Dosage
- Theory Driven
- Positive Relationships
- Appropriately Timed
- Socio-Culturally Relevant
- Outcome Evaluation
- Well-Trained Staff
- To learn more about each of these principles, read the paper Applying the Principles of Prevention: What Do Prevention Practitioners Need to Know About What Works? [PDF]
- You can also view the CDC’s Veto Violence project - Principles of Prevention online course (flash based content).
- Prevention Institute – UNITY Fact Sheet - Violence and Health Equity Series of fact sheets as part of the UNITY program – Violence and Health Equity; explores the ways in which violence and fear of violence are major factors that undermine health and increase health disparities.
- Safe States Alliance – national clearinghouse non-profit supporting state and local injury and violence prevention professionals.
- State of the States Reports - latest is 2009 [PDF downloads available on page] | a national view of injury and violence prevention efforts and goals.
- Healthiest Wisconsin 2020 – WI State Health Plan hosted on DHS | a state level view of injury and violence prevention efforts and goals.
- Putting Social Justice at the Heart of Public Health – PreventConnect e•learning module (link to page with resources).
- Technical Assistance Guide and Resource Kit for Primary Prevention and Evaluation (2009) [24.5 MB] – part of the training & technical assistance from PCAR (Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape).
- Evaluation for Improvement: A Seven-Step Empowerment Evaluation Approach – manual for the empowerment evaluation process produced by the CDC (document downloadable from the linked page as PDF).
- Measuring the Impact of your Sexual and Domestic Violence Prevention Efforts – PreventConnect e•Learning module.
- PreventConnect Wiki Evaluation page – chock full of links!