This evidence-based review of the effectiveness of sexual assault prevention interventions (SAPI's) documents what is known about SAPI evaluation research, identifies significant gaps in this research, and recommends future sexual assault prevention practices and research.
Fifty-nine studies were reviewed for this report, including 9 studies that reported evaluation results for SAPI's that focused on persons with disabilities. Although methodological diversity precluded a rigorous meta-analysis of the findings, the analysis indicated that 14 percent of the evaluations reported positive program effects at posttest or follow-up, and 80 percent reported mixed results. Overall, some positive attitudinal and behavioral changes have been produced among participants in the majority of SAPI's, and very few programs have had adverse outcomes. The majority of SAPI's targeted college students and included the provision of information on the prevalence of sexual assault, challenging rape myths and sex-role stereotypes, identifying risk-related behaviors, increasing empathy for rape survivors, providing information on the effects of rape on victims, and the provision of lists of victim resources. There have also been programs for middle and high-school students. The majority of SAPI's have not relied on a theory-based foundation, and those that have incorporated a variety of theories. Recommendations for program development include the targeting of individuals with risk factors for sexual assault, greater attention to the features of healthy relationships, a broadening of program settings beyond schools, and tailoring programs to diverse racial and cultural backgrounds. Recommendations also suggest improvements in evaluation methodologies. 10 exhibits, 48 references, and appended supplementary tables, program descriptions, data forms, and literature search databases and search terms
Date Published: September 1, 2004
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