Background on Individual Education
What is sexual assault prevention individual education?
- Individual education strategies work to prevent or reduce sexual assault by improving knowledge, awareness, attitudes, beliefs, skills and behaviors. These strategies can refer individuals to community resources, provide counseling and support and help increase healthy lifestyle choices.
- Previous work shows it is important to provide information about sexual assault prevention and increase skills to improve an individual’s confidence in his or her ability to respond to situations that can lead to sexual assault.
- Providing information, training and support through individual education can:
- increase awareness of the risk and seriousness of sexual assault;
- increase knowledge of resources and services related to sexual assault prevention education, counseling or training;
- increase awareness of how to identify and report perpetrators of sexual assault; and
- change attitudes, beliefs and behaviors related to sexual assault prevention.
How can I use individual education to prevent or reduce sexual assaults?
- Individual education can help individuals find information, resources, and services for sexual assault prevention or reduction. For example, individuals may receive counseling or self-help materials, such as newsletters, brochures, fact sheets, videos, or posters. Other strategies may provide cues to action rather than specifically increasing knowledge, such as encouraging use of campus escort services.
- Most individual education strategies provide information to individuals. Some of these strategies offer individuals opportunities to ask questions or get clarification, such as through a face-to-face or telephone session with a health educator.
- The benefit of individual education messages is their personal relevance to each individual. This means the messages can be tailored to an individual’s readiness to get information or help. For example, some individuals may not think about their risk of sexual assault, and others may want to learn skills to prevent sexual assault from happening to them. Sexual assault prevention messages can also be tailored to an individual’s physical, mental, social, cultural or spiritual circumstances.
- Previous work shows that individual education strategies may work best when combined with strategies to create changes in policies, environments, support, or awareness related to sexual assault prevention (see Campaigns and Promotions and Environments and Policies for sexual assault prevention)
What are the different strategies to prevent or reduce sexual assault?
- Individual education on self-management can increase knowledge, skills and self-efficacy or confidence in making healthy lifestyle choices. Self-management takes individuals through a process of identifying an issue, assessing routines through self-monitoring, making sense of a routine, identifying and setting a goal, contracting a change and developing an action plan to achieve the goal. For example, the issue may be dating behavior. The individual may be asked how often the dates are in groups versus one-on-one and the kinds of drinking behaviors that occur on dates. Next, the individual may set a goal to keep him/herself from being in a bad situation on a date, such as group dating or making arrangements for transportation with others to and from the date. Then, the individual will set his or her intention and an action plan to achieve this goal. This action plan may include how to overcome barriers, develop skills to overcome these barriers and create a reward system for positive changes.
- Individual education is used to build skills to prevent or reduce sexual assault. Skill building strategies provide hands-on opportunities for individuals to learn ways to improve communication, set boundaries with other individuals or make healthy lifestyle choices.
What do I need to know to develop individual education strategies?
- Individual education strategies can be based on messages for a general audience or for a specific group such as children or college students. In these cases, the messages may not be specific to each individual. However, the messages can be created for preferences of different groups, such as language, cultural traditions or social activities.
- Individual education should be culturally sensitive, involve family and friends when possible, and incorporate the individual’s readiness to change his or her behavior. The content of the message may focus on a wide variety of topics, such as rates of sexual assault, barriers to seeking help after an assault, barriers to using transportation services or communication skill-building exercises.
- Different individuals and groups may have different perspectives on their role in dealing with sexual assault prevention. This may influence their interest in and ability to engage in individual education strategies.
- Individual education strategies can be affected by the individual’s access to sexual assault prevention support.
- These strategies are also influenced by the media and broader social and cultural norms in the community, such as trust in health care providers.
- Individual education strategies can be delivered at one time or at regular intervals, such as weekly, monthly or quarterly. The intervention information can appear in the form of print, telephone, video, audio or electronic messages.
Who do I work with to create individual education strategies?
- To get help with your individual 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
- 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 individual education messages, 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 or radio
- researchers and evaluators