Sexual Assault Prevention in Different Populations

woman listening to music

Before selecting your intervention strategies, you might think about how certain population characteristics may affect the success of your intervention. For example, population subgroups that differ by age, race, ethnicity, income or geography may respond differently to your intervention.  The following considerations and strategies reflect “lessons learned” from sexual assault interventions conducted within various population subgroups.  Despite the increasing accumulation of all types of evidence, knowledge about “how something should be done” remains limited (Rychetnick, 2004).  Therefore, the considerations and strategies provided below may or may not be applicable to all subgroups. As always, it may be useful to work with the community of interest in adapting intervention activities to best fit its needs.

Racial and ethnic minorities



Children and adolescents



Health Care Providers

College Students






Aarti, N., et. al., (2005). Sexual victimization: Incidence, knowledge, and resource use among a population of college women. Journal of Pediatric Adolescence Gynecology, 148: 91-96.

Daro, D. (1994). Prevention of child sexual abuse. The Future of Children, 4(2): 198-223.

Day, K. (1995). Assault prevention as social control: Women and sexual assault prevention on urban college campuses. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 15: 261-281.

Ellis, CD. (2002). Male rape: The silent victims. Collegian, 9(4): 34-39.

Hickman, LJ, Jaycox, LH, & Aronoff, J. (2004). Dating violence among adolescents prevalence, gender distribution, and prevention program effectiveness. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 5(2): 123-142

Kaiser Family Foundation. (2007) “Key Health and Health Care Indicators by Race/Ethnicity and State.” [Online]. Available at: 

Leder, MR, Emans, SJ, Palmer-Haflter, L, & Rappaport, LA. (1999). Addressing sexual abuse in the primary care setting. Pediatrics, 104: 270-275.

Lindholm, K.J. & Willey, R. (1986). Ethnic differences in child abuse and sexual abuse. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 8(2): 111-125.

Lumley, VA & Mittenberger, RG. (1997). Sexual abuse prevention for persons with mental retardation. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 101(5): 459-472.

MacMillan, HL, MacMillan, JH, Offord, DR, Griffith, L, & MacMillan, A. (1994). Primary prevention of child sexual abuse: A critic. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 35(5): 857-876.

Muccigrosso, L. (1991). Sexual abuse prevention strategies and programs for persons with developmental disabilities. Sexuality and disability, 9(3): 261-271.

National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) Available at:

Pierce, L. (1984). Race as a factor in the sexual abuse of children. Social work research & abstracts, 20: 9-14.

Plichta, SB. (2007). Interactions between victims of intimate partner violence against women and the health care system. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 8(2): 226-239.

Ramsey-Klawsnik, H. (1991). Elder sexual abuse: Preliminary findings. Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect, 3(3): 73-90.

Ray, J. & Murty, SA. (1990). Rural child sexual abuse prevention and treatment. Human Services in the Rural Environment, 13(4): 24-29.

Reppucci, ND, & Haugaard, JJ. (1989). Prevention of child sexual abuse myth or reality. American Psychologist, 44(10): 1266-1275.

Rispens, J, Aleman, A, & Goudena, PP. (1997). Prevention of child sexual abuse victimization: A meta-analysis of school programs. Child Abuse & Neglect, 21(10): 975-987.

Rychetnik L, Hawe P, Waters E, Barratt A, and Frommer M. (2004). A glossary for evidence based public health. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 58:538-545.

Sobsey, D. & Mansell, S. (1990). The prevention of sexual abuse of people with developmental disabilities. Developmental Disabilities Bulletin, 18(2): 51-66.

Tharinger, D, Horton, CB & Millea, S (1990). Sexual abuse and exploitation of children and adults with mental retardation and other handicaps. Child Abuse & Neglect, 14: 301-312.

Vezina, J & Hebert, M (2007). Risk factors for victimization in romantic relationships of young women: A review of empirical studies and implications for prevention. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 8(1): 33-66.

Wekerle, C & Wolfe, DA. (1999). Dating violence in mid-adolescence: Theory, significance, and emerging prevention initiatives. Clinical Psychology Review, 19(4): 435-456.

Yeater, EA & O’Donahue, W. (1999). Sexual assault prevention programs: Current issues, future directions, and the potential efficacy of interventions with women. Clinical Psychology Review, 19(7): 739-771.

printer-friendly Printer-friendly version