The American College Health Association developed this toolkit — Shifting the Paradigm: Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence — to provide facts, ideas, strategies, conversation starters, and resources to everyone on campus who cares about the prevention of sexual violence. While there is a rich volume of tools, knowledge, and resources for intervention after sexual violence, the emphasis of this toolkit is to encourage prevention activities that take place before sexual violence has occurred and which create social change and shift the norms regarding sexual violence.
A primary prevention approach to preventing sexual violence requires a paradigm shift in the thinking of the campus community. Primary prevention helps create environments that promote respect, equality, civility, healthy relationships, and healthy sexuality — and ultimately, a campus environment where students are safe and learning successfully.
This toolkit was developed by the American College Health Association and supported by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Program: Enhancing Healthcare Providers Ability to Prevent Sexual Violence. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.
ACHA recommends the following actions be taken to address policy, prevention, and intervention as it pertains to sexual violence:
- Develop a policy statement and directive from the president/chancellor of the institution that demonstrates recognition of sexual violence as a problem, a commitment to reduce its occurrence, and action steps for the campus community.
- Develop a multidisciplinary taskforce on campus to address sexual violence prevention and response services that includes high-level campus administration, academic leaders, student leaders, and community partnerships.
- Create policies that reflect an expectation of civility, honor, respect, and nonviolence for all members of the community and encourage behaviors that build a sense of community.
- Revise, enforce, and widely distribute disciplinary regulations in the student code that demonstrate an intolerance of all forms of sexual violence and implement sanctions for violations by faculty, staff, and students.
- Educate disciplinary boards on perpetrator patterns and possible victim responses and patterns.
- Provide comprehensive training on all aspects of sexual violence for campus administrators; campus law enforcement; health and counseling services staff; faculty; staff; and student leaders that includes the dynamics of sexual violence, access to care, victim response, and federal/ state statutes.
- Develop a coordinated, seamless, victim-centered response service between campus and community resources that offers the options of:
- anonymous reporting
- law enforcement involvement
- judicial/disciplinary board actions
- forensic/medical care
- emergency contraception
- academic/housing accommodations
- follow-up counseling, support, and advocacy
- Integrate screening for sexual violence into patient history protocols.
- Adhere to federal, state, and local statutes and reporting requirements.
- Integrate sexual violence prevention education into curricular and non-curricular activities.
- Offer residence hall and extra-curricular activities that are alcohol free.
- Develop educational/outreach programming that:
- recognizes that sexual violence is a learned behavior
- teaches bystander intervention techniques
- addresses the role of consent in sexual relationships
- encourages the involvement of men
- addresses alcohol and other drugs issues and the connection with sexual violence
- provides concepts that encourage healthy, consensual sexual relationships
- addresses non-stranger sexual violence and dispels traditional beliefs
- Create and codify amnesty policies for underage drinking for victims who report sexual assault.
- Invest men in the prevention of sexual violence, including those actions that dehumanize and objectify women.
- Publish and announce the availability of protocols on campus websites for all campus members to access resources, referrals, and helping strategies for victims of sexual violence.