Prevention Strategies

Sexual violence (SV) is a serious problem that can have lasting, harmful effects on victims and their family, friends, and communities. CDC’s goal is to stop SV from happening in the first place. The solutions are just as complex as the problem.

In order to prevent SV, we must understand and address risk and protective factors at the individual, relational, community, and societal levels.

CDC developed a resource, STOP SV: A Technical Package to Prevent Sexual Violence pdf icon[2.85MB, 48Pages,508] to help communities take advantage of the best available evidence to prevent sexual violence. This resource is available in English and Spanish pdf icon[17MB, 48 Pages, 508] and can impact individual behaviors and the relationship, family, school, community, and societal factors that influence the risk and protective factors for violence. Many of the strategies focus on reducing the likelihood that a person will engage in sexual violence. The strategies and their corresponding approaches are listed in the table below.

STOP SV

STOP SV

Strategy Approach
S Promote Social Norms that Protect Against Violence
  • Bystander Approaches
  • Mobilizing men and boys as allies
T Teach Skills to Prevent Sexual Violence
  • Social-emotional learning
  • Teaching healthy, safe dating and intimate relationship skills to adolescents
  • Promoting healthy sexuality
  • Empowerment-based training
O Provide Opportunities to Empower and Support Girls and Women
  • Strengthening economic supports for women and families
  • Strengthening leadership and opportunities for girls
P Create Protective Environments
  • Improving safety and monitoring in schools
  • Establishing and consistently applying workplace policies
  • Addressing community-level risks through environmental approaches
SV Support Victims/Survivors to Lessen Harms
  • Victim-centered services
  • Treatment for victims of SV
  • Treatment for at-risk children and families to prevent problem behavior including sex offending

Example Programs

Below are some examples of programs described in the STOP SV technical package.

Applying the Principles of Effective Prevention to Sexual Violence

Program planners can use evidenced-based strategies and existing prevention principles to strengthen their approaches and evaluate the effectiveness of new or existing programs.

See Sexual Violence Resources for more publications, data sources, and other resources about preventing sexual violence. 

Page last reviewed: February 5, 2021