A holistic approach to sexual violence prevention

Education institutions are under intense pressure to reduce sexual violence on campus. The need for a change in approach is clear—but many colleges and universities are uncertain how best to proceed in order to create a safer campus environment.

Our research reveals numerous gaps in the sexual violence prevention landscape. The institutional response to sexual violence tends to be disjointed and one-time prevention programs targeted at first year students define most efforts. This approach lacks cross-campus collaboration and communication and there is little evidence that current efforts reduce sexual violence in the long term.

A cross-department solution for a campus-wide problem

Our study, Building an Effective University Infrastructure: Addressing Sexual Violence on Campus, outlines four components of a practical, comprehensive strategy for combatting sexual violence: establish a task force, inventory current prevention efforts, create a one-stop online portal, and hardwire faculty and staff training.

These easy-to-follow guidelines have elicited plenty of positive feedback from members since we published the study in May. The study has received acclaim by external stakeholders as well. NCHERM, a well-regarded Title IX consulting organization, featured Building an Effective University Infrastructure as the cover article in the June edition of its monthly newsletter, Title IX Today.

Empowering students to confront sexual violence

Prevention programming at many colleges and universities similarly lacks a comprehensive approach that supports the institution’s overarching prevention strategy. Rather than consistently reaching students with prevention messaging and programs throughout their time on campus, many institutions implemented one-time events primarily during orientation that have no lasting effect on students’ attitudes and behaviors toward sexual violence.

Our white paper, Beyond Orientation: New Approaches to Sexual Violence Prevention Programming, discusses the importance of consistent educational efforts that build students’ knowledge and skills over time. NCHERM featured this white paper in the May edition of Title IX Today.

A multi-faceted, holistic approach is key

Sexual violence on campus is a multifaceted problem that requires a nuanced solution. Our two recent reports on the topic offer a holistic approach to sexual violence prevention, combining long-term student education with effective institutional structures to create a safer campus.

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