What Sexual Violence Prevention Training for Students Should Include

Posted on 29 March 2016 |

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bystander intervention trainingNational research indicates that somewhere between 20 and 25 percent of female students are sexually assaulted during their time in college. And female students aren’t the only ones at risk. LGBTQIA students, especially transgender students, also face high rates of sexual violence and harassment on campus.

As a result, federal laws now mandate that higher education institutions receiving federal funding must train faculty and staff on sexual violence prevention and the related laws: Title IX, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Clery Act.

But faculty and staff aren’t the only ones on campus that need training. It’s especially important to provide sexual violence prevention training to students. To help your campus, let’s review some best practices for training students on sexual violence prevention.

Timing for Delivering Training

Students should be trained the moment they arrive on campus as research indicates that one-third of sexual assault survivors are freshman students, 17-19 years old.  During their first few weeks on campus, students are absorbing as much information as they can—making it the perfect time to train them on sexual violence prevention.

However, only training students once at the beginning of the year is a mistake. It’s important to provide supplemental courses throughout the year that cover a variety of issues students are likely to face such as:

  • Intimate partner violence
  • Rush week safety
  • Staying safe over Spring Break
  • Alcohol abuse prevention

How to Present Training

Training courses should be mobile-friendly and delivered online to giving students optimum flexibility in the virtual world. This allows for automatic bookmarking, so students can start training on their laptop in a dorm, and continue seamlessly on their tablet later between classes.

Because these topics are sensitive in nature, being online and mobile-compatible also allows students to engage with the training in the location where they are most comfortable, which is especially helpful to survivors of sexual violence who might be triggered by the content.

Content of the Training

The content of the training should have a heavy focus on bystander intervention: a proven method of action-oriented learning, which teaches students how to step in (when it is safe to do so) if someone is in need of help. Bystander intervention training, delivered online, helps to change the culture around sexual violence on college campuses.

Additionally, the training content should be media-rich, which supports evidence-based instructional design. Professionally-produced video, custom animated stories, social media tie-ins and games that help students test what they’ve learned—and all together keeps students engaged with the training.

Tracking & Reporting Features to Include with Training

Tracking, completion reports and test results should be available electronically to administrators. This way you can quickly review which students have completed the training and send reminders to the ones who haven’t.

And in addition to training, it would be ideal to also provide a campus climate survey at the same time as training. The reports from training along with the survey results can help schools fully understand where they stand in relation to legal compliance and creating campus change.

Key Takeaways

Students need sexual violence prevention training too. Best practices for training students that we’ve reviewed include:

  • Multiple training courses delivered throughout the year covers a wide variety of topics and helps students retain the information.
  • Online mobile delivery avoids re-victimizing survivors of sexual violence by allowing them to take their training at the time and place they feel most comfortable.
  • Media-rich training content should engage students while teaching them how to safely practice bystander intervention.
  • Tracking and reporting features let you know completion rates and they help illuminate areas that need improvements.

To learn more about our sexual violence prevention training for students on campus, request a free demo today.

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