- S: Promote Social Norms that Protect Against Violence
- T: Teach Skills to Prevent Sexual Violence
- O: Provide Opportunities to Empower and Support Girls and Women
- P: Create Protective Environments
- SV: Support Victims/Survivors to Lessen Harms
These are the strategies identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its report STOP SV: A Technical Package to Prevent Sexual Violence that was released today. In the next few months PreventConnect will host a web conference to explore how this report can be used to support sexual violence prevention efforts.
Preventing sexual violence requires prevention efforts to be comprehensive. That means that we need to take actions across all levels of the social ecological model (individual, relationship, community, and societal). It also means we must have prevention efforts that include primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention efforts (before, short-term response, and long-term response.)
PreventConnect focuses its efforts primarily on primary prevention – strategies and approaches to prevent violence before first-time perpetration or victimization. These are crucial to our efforts to end sexual violence as we must change the cultural and societal norms that contribute to sexual violence. Yet, we know that one strategy alone is never enough to prevent as complex of a problem as sexual violence. STOP SV contributes to our understanding of comprehensive prevention by examining all forms of prevention. Strategies such as treatment for survivors and risk-reduction empowerment programs for women are included; these strategies complement primary prevention strategies. However, we must make sure that we always include primary prevention – sexual violence cannot be eradicated only by trying to reduce risk to victimization and providing services after an assault.
STOP SV provides examples of prevention strategies, approaches, and current research evidence to support those programs, policies and initiatives. The report suggests that “Though the evidence for SV [sexual violence] is still developing and more research is needed, the problem of SV[sexual violence] is too large and costly and has too many urgent consequences to wait for perfect answers. There is a compelling need for prevention now and to learn from the efforts that are undertaken.” Prevention is possible and now is the time for prevention.
Check out this report and look for the upcoming PreventConnect web conference.
Disclosure: I was a reviewer of previous drafts of this report.