How to Prevent Sexual Violence & Raise Awareness on Your Campus

Preventing Sexual Violence on Your Campus

Posted by Shelley Kilpatrick on 18 August 2016 |

caEarlier this week, we talked about five criteria your sexual violence prevention program must meet in order for it to be effective:

  1. It must be relevant to your campus.
  2. It should include diverse communities and identities.
  3. It needs to be responsive to community needs.
  4. It should be informed by research and evaluated for effectiveness.
  5. It must be sustainable.

This time (again with guidance from The Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting) we are going to dive deeper into the two types of prevention programs you need to have: primary and awareness. And we are going to talk about ways to deliver these programs to incoming students and new employees.

The Two Types of Programs and Campaigns

Primary Prevention

You should design these initiatives with the idea in mind to stop sexual violence—which includes dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking—before it happens.

You can do this by promoting healthy behaviors, respectful relationships and encouraging safe bystander intervention—with the goal of changing behavior and social norms in healthy and safe directions.

Topics you should cover include good listening, communication skills, alcohol safety and common courtesy.

Awareness Prevention

While prevention programs are directed at changing behaviors, awareness programs should be designed to improve knowledge surrounding sexual violence and how it impacts college and university campuses.

These programs should be design for both the community as a whole and for specific audiences. This way you can reach each individual on campus and offer them something that relates directly to their needs.

An example of an awareness campaign includes informational booths or sessions to share resources where students can find more information on how they can promote safety and prevent violence.

Delivering Your Programs and Campaigns

Sexual Violence Prevention Training

The most common way to deliver your programs and campaigns is through training. And since you must make it available to all incoming students and new employees, training is an efficient way to present the information—especially online training for the required definitions of sexual violence under the Clery Act.

And while regulations don’t require everyone to take the training, many campuses make it mandatory. This requires plenty of advanced notification and providing the training in as many formats as possible to reach a wider audience.

Some examples of training formats include:

  • Online interactive training
  • In-person interactive workshops
  • Theater performances
  • Presentations or videos with follow-up discussions
  • Webinars
  • Online videos

You can choose which combination works best for your specific needs. For example, many campuses prefer to online interactive training as a flagship course that covers all the required information—such as definitions, bystander intervention, how to report sexual violence, etc.—and then supplement it with in-person workshops and theater performances to dive deeper into specific topics like alcohol education and consent.

Ongoing Campaigns

In addition to training, you need to also provide ongoing campaigns to sustain your sexual violence prevention programing throughout the year. These campaigns can include:

  • Supplemental burst learning training modules that are shorter in length (5-10 minutes) and cover various topics such as international travel, Greek life, Spring Break safety, etc.
  • Additional communication strategies, such as social media posts, email blasts, notices on bulletin boards, posters, and/or radio and newspaper advertisements
  • Events, such as Take Back the Night events or a Safe Walk service, and the materials used to promote these activities
  • Programming coordinated with and delivered to individual groups on campus (e.g., presentations or workshops for individual sports teams, fraternity or sorority houses, or residence halls)
  • Booths at student fairs or other campus events and/or faculty discussing issues and available services in the classroom, or advertising programs or events

Key Takeaways

Your campus must have programming in place for prevention (ways to stop sexual violence and change behaviors) in addition to awareness (informing your campus about the impact of sexual violence).

And you can use a wide variety of training methods to deliver the programming including online interactive training, in-person workshops, online videos, or a combination of training formats.

Finally, the programing and campaigns shouldn’t only be a one-time effort. You should continue them throughout the year.

Now, it’s your turn. Tell us what types of training or campaigns does your campus use?

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