Background on Group Education
What is sexual assault prevention group education?
- Through group education strategies, trained instructors provide information and resources as part of group classes or meetings to increase knowledge, skills and support related to sexual assault prevention and reduction. Information may be general or specific to an individual or group.
- Group education strategies may include presentations as well as individual or group activities that occur in schools, community centers, clinics, day care centers, homes, churches, worksites, or other meeting spaces. Using a detailed curriculum, these strategies can:
- increase knowledge and skills regarding sexual assault prevention or reduction;
- provide a link between physical and mental health and sexual assault prevention or reduction;
- promote specific behavior changes to prevent or reduce sexual assault;
- educate individuals about the challenges with making lifestyle changes such as better communication or setting clear boundaries; and
- improve social support or group norms related to appropriate dating or relationship behaviors, healthy expressions of anger, greater awareness of surroundings or safer transportation choices.
How can I use group education to prevent or reduce sexual assaults?
- Many individuals feel comfortable being part of a group. Most students are taught in classes. Many employees work in teams, departments, or organizations. Children, adolescents, and adults often play or hang out with their friends. Residents may have block parties with their neighbors. A lot of individuals live with their families or friends. These social groups can help individuals learn by observing others or getting feedback from others.
- Group education works best when both individual and group strategies are used. Individual strategies can improve knowledge, attitudes, beliefs or skills. Group strategies can change social norms and peer pressure or help with handling conflict, gaining support or increasing communication. For example, it may be more helpful to provide information about ways to prevent sexual assault and have the group talk about why it is difficult to change and how they have become more assertive.
- Similar to individual education and campaigns and promotions, group education can be designed to meet the needs of general audiences or specific groups. For example, group education messages can address all parents about ways to prevent sexual assault, or the parents of children who have experienced sexual assault about ways to make their child feel safe.
- Group education can be part of existing programs or services, such as health education classes in schools or prenatal care classes. Or, new group education classes or meetings can be set up to focus only on sexual assault prevention.
What are the different strategies to prevent or reduce sexual assault?
- Many different kinds of groups serve various purposes:
- Groups set up primarily for prevention. For example, safety education and training classes designed for college students.
- Groups already meeting that may be a good audience for sexual assault prevention. For example, Parent-Teacher Associations may reach parents of elementary school-aged children.
- Groups that work to train professionals, such as law enforcement officers, teachers, or employers, to identify and report sexual assault perpetrators.
- Groups that provide support to victims of sexual assault. For example, community-based organizations providing classes for victims of domestic violence, rape or child abuse.
- Groups that provide rehabilitation services to perpetrators of sexual assault. For example, community-based organizations providing job training or social services.
Who do I work with to develop group education strategies?
- To get help with your group education strategies, you may want to work with some of the following individuals or groups:
- health departments, including health educators or providers
- health care facilities, including providers in clinics, hospitals, or other health care organizations
- schools, including teachers, coaches, nurses, counselors, or administrators
- community coalitions
- civic organizations or community organizations such as Head Start, Boy/Girl Scouts, YMCA, YWCA, or 4H Club
- worksites, including wellness trainers and managers
- senior independent living facilities
- faith-based organizations
- neighborhood organizations and community members
- To promote your group education classes or meetings, it is helpful to work with some of the following individuals or groups:
- communications or advertising agencies
- celebrities or professional athletes
- advocacy organizations, such as rape crisis centers
- elected officials, policy-makers, decision-makers, or community leaders
- government agencies
- consumer organizations, such as bars, restaurants, or gyms
- metropolitan centers
- media, including newspaper, billboards, television, radio
- researchers and evaluators