Sexual Violence Prevention
In Missouri, it is estimated that one in three women and one in seven men has experienced sexual violence (SV) in their lifetime. (The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010-2012 State Report) The Department of Health and Senior Services has been working to keep sexual violence from ever happening. Beginning in 2018, the Department, with a team of partners, developed a state action plan for the prevention of SV. This plan prioritizes the prevention of sexual violence using the best available evidence including workplace policy change strategies, addressing the built environment, and improving economic opportunity for women and girls.
What is prevention? Prevention activities are typically categorized by the following three definitions:
- Primary Prevention—intervening before health effects occur, through measures such as vaccinations, altering risky behaviors (poor eating habits, tobacco use), and banning substances known to be associated with a disease or health condition.
- Secondary Prevention—screening to identify diseases in the earliest stages, before the onset of signs and symptoms, through measures such as mammography and regular blood pressure testing.
- Tertiary Prevention—managing disease post diagnosis to slow or stop disease progression through measures such as chemotherapy, rehabilitation, and screening for complications. (CDC.gov)
The primary prevention of sexual violence means stopping sexual violence before it even has a chance to happen. This means addressing the root causes of sexual violence, like broad cultural factors such as beliefs about gender equality and multiple forms of oppression such as racism, transphobia, and ableism, and social systems that reinforce power over others. (NSVRC.org)
What is awareness? Awareness campaigns typically are defined as a sustained effort to educate individuals and boost public awareness about an organization's cause or issue. (philanthropynewsdigest.org)
Outreach, Awareness and Prevention blog post by Chris Croft, North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s Prevention Education Program Manager - https://nccasa.org/outreach-awareness-and-prevention/
Public Health Approach -The public health approach is a four-step process rooted in the scientific method. It can be applied to violence prevention and other health problems that affect populations. The process includes: 1) Define and Monitor the Problem, 2) Identify Risk and Protective Factors, 3) Develop and Test Prevention Strategies, and 4) Assure Widespread Adoption (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2008). The public health approach emphasizes input from diverse sectors including health, education, social services, justice, and policy. A broad knowledge base informs the public health interventions and, collectively, stakeholders to help address public health problems like sexual violence.
The Social Ecological Model (SEM) -The SEM includes four levels: 1) the individual, 2) relationship, 3) community, and 4) society, in order to better understand violence and the effect of potential prevention strategies. The model addresses different factors at each level that put people at risk for experiencing or perpetrating violence. For instance, a program that takes place at several schools that teaches students about consent is at the individual-level of the SEM. A different program at the same schools that explores the environmental characteristics of the school is at the community-level of the SEM. For more information on the social ecological model, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/publichealthissue/social-ecologicalmodel.html.
Community-level Violence Prevention - Community-level violence prevention strategies refer to strategies that target community characteristics such as the built environment, social norms, and local and/or workplace policies. For example, identifying ways to build community connectedness through environmental design is a community-level strategy.
STOP SV: A Technical Package to Prevent Sexual Violence (STOP SV) - STOP SV is a CDC developed resource that represents the best available evidence to prevent or reduce public health problems like sexual violence. More information can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/sv-prevention-technical-package.pdf.
Program Fidelity - Program fidelity means implementing a particular strategy as it was intended to be implemented by the original developer. This includes identifying the essential elements of the strategy before making adaptations. More information can be found here: https://vetoviolence.cdc.gov/apps/adaptation-guidance/.
VetoViolence exists to empower you and your community to prevent violence and implement evidence-based prevention strategies in your community. Tools, trainings, and resources are designed to empower you and your partners to help reduce risks for violence and to increase what protects people and communities from it.
Green Dot College Strategy
The Green Dot Violence Prevention College Strategy has one main goal, the permanent reduction of power-based personal violence. To reach that goal, the Green Dot Violence Prevention Strategy is designed to accomplish the following objective: establish two cultural norms on the campus, power-based personal violence will not be tolerated and everyone does his/her part to maintain a safe campus. In order to change cultural norms, the Green Dot Violence Prevention Strategy seeks to engage the majority of the campus community in new behaviors through awareness, programming and education. This is accomplished through several components. The components used are faculty/staff/administrator bystander training (three-hour training), early adopter bystander training (four, six-hour trainings for students), general student population overview talks (one-hour training for faculty, students, and staff), action events, social norms marketing, and other integration strategies.
Green Dot Middle School Strategy
The Green Dot Violence Prevention Middle School Strategy has one main goal, the permanent reduction of power-based personal violence. To reach that goal, the strategy is designed to accomplish the following objective: establish two cultural norms in the school, power-based personal violence will not be tolerated and everyone does his/her part to maintain a safe school. In order to change cultural norms, the Green Dot Violence Prevention Strategy seeks to engage the entire school community in new behaviors through awareness, programming and education. This is accomplished through several components. The first component of the program recognizes the central role of adults in creating safe schools. Teachers, staff, administrators, and parents are trained to recognize and address risk and support students. The second component of the program is the Classroom Module, a highly interactive, adaptable series of two one-hour sessions designed to target every student at the school. The third component is Student Leadership Training, a more intensive education program designed for small groups of carefully selected early adopters, who are students who have influence within the school. The program allows students to practice more intensive skills, teaching them to recognize and respond to violence among their peers. The final component is a school-wide social marketing campaign. Student leaders develop a unique symbol to represent violence prevention at their school. This emblem is shared throughout the school through a poster campaign. Student leaders are provided with additional tools, like pins and bracelets, to promote violence prevention throughout the school. This component creates community-level change by addressing the social norms of the school in order to decrease norms that support aggression toward others.
Strengthening Economic Supports for Women and Families
Using the public health approach to first define the problem, conduct a statewide needs assessment to first identify the barriers to work and education. Once the qualitative data is analyzed, conduct additional listening sessions to identify solutions. Finally, conduct an analysis of the data to identify the strength of the solutions. This analysis will identify the solutions that participants identify as most likely to change the identified barriers. The sub-recipient will then develop a toolkit with resources to implement the identified solutions and disseminate the results throughout the state. The results from the qualitative needs assessment and research regarding effective violence prevention strategies to inform the toolkit. This will help those using the toolkit to incorporate Missouri specific concerns and the best available evidence.
Sexual Harassment and Violence Prevention
The purpose of the Sexual Harassment and Violence Prevention strategy is to prevent the perpetration and victimization of sexual violence in the workplace. The goal of the Sexual Harassment and Violence Prevention program is to revise or establish, consistently apply, and enforce proactive policies and procedures for sexual harassment and violence. This includes working with organizations in writing new policies and procedures, updating existing policies and procedures, establishing new methods for disseminating the policies and procedures, and/or developing new training for staff and/or management at the organization.
The building-level intervention, school mapping activity, of Shifting Boundaries is being implemented in middle schools where the Green Dot Violence Prevention Strategy is being implemented. Students identify “hotspots” in the school and results are presented to school administration in order to increase the safety of the school.
Community Environmental Strategies
Using the public health approach to first define the problem, then conduct a local needs assessment to first identify the area of focus. Once the data is analyzed, work with the community to identify community-level evidence-based solutions.
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a multi-disciplinary approach of crime prevention that uses urban and architectural design and the management of built and natural environments. CPTED strategies aim to reduce victimization, deter offender decisions that precede criminal acts, and build a sense of community among inhabitants so they can gain territorial control of areas, reduce crime, and minimize fear of crime. CPTED is pronounced ‘sep-ted’ and it is also known around the world as Designing Out Crime, defensible space, and other similar terms.
Strengthening Economic Supports for Women in Missouri
The Department of Health and Senior Services contracted with the UMKC Institute for Human Development (UMKC-IHD) to identify the main barriers to work and education for women and families in Missouri. Research has shown that access to education and employment help make sexual violence less likely to occur. By helping Missouri women and families achieve their educational and employment goals, we can help keep violence from ever happening. A team of researchers at UMKC-IHD identified five main barriers through community listening sessions and a review of the research. These can be found in the focus groups results. They then produced a report with policy recommendations and a tool-kit to help implement the strategies.
- Statewide Needs Assessment-Focus Groups Results
- Community Conversations Report and Policy Recommendations
- Implementation Toolkit
The Intersection of Alcohol and Sexual Violence on Missouri College Campuses
In 2017, the then Office on Women’s Health (OWH) sought to better understand the intersection of sexual assault and alcohol consumption on college campuses. OWH knew that alcohol consumption was never an excuse for causing harm. While other partners agreed, many heard concerns from students that it was a confusing area to approach. Over the course of three years, OWH sponsored the development of three white papers on the topic.