Sexual Violence Prevention Technical Package

Group of young adults

Sexual violence is not inevitable; it is a public health problem that can be prevented.

Sexual violence can result in physical injuries and psychological impacts that can be severe, long lasting, and costly. But sexual violence is not inevitable; it is a public health problem that can be prevented. CDC created a technical package for states and communities to apply the best available evidence in preventing sexual violence. Learn more about CDC’s technical package to prevent sexual violence.

Background

Sexual violence (SV) is a serious public health problem that affects millions of people each year. SV often begins early in life, with many victims experiencing it before the age of 18. People with a history of SV are more likely than those without such a history to experience other forms of violence throughout their lives. Additionally, victims are more likely to experience consequences such as sexually transmitted diseases, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and suicidal thoughts. They are also more likely to engage in risky behaviors. Some risky behaviors, such as smoking and excessive alcohol use, can lead to chronic illnesses. Other risky behaviors such as sex with multiple partners, sex with unfamiliar partners, and sex without a condom can lead to unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections such as HIV.

Woman looking sad

A technical package provides a select set of strategies based on the best available evidence to help communities and states have greater impact on a specific health outcome.

Why create a technical package?

CDC works to better understand the problem of SV and to prevent it before it begins. CDC scientists reviewed the prevention literature and considered the best possible evidence available to prevent SV and to lessen harms and prevent future risk. They identified approaches that states and communities can implement to advance the strategies and described how various sectors could support implementation. A “technical package” was then developed and reviewed by grantees, funded partners, federal partners, and other stakeholders.

As a result of this work, CDC recently released STOP SV: Sexual Violence Technical Package pdf icon[2.85 MB] that identifies strategies to help states and communities prioritize prevention activities. This package includes strategies and approaches that are consistent with CDC’s emphasis on the primary prevention of perpetration, or stopping SV perpetration before it starts, and with approaches to reduce risk for victimization and to lessen the short- and long-term harms of SV. The strategies and approaches represent different levels of the social ecology that not only impact individual behaviors, but also the relationships, families, schools, communities, and social structures that influence risk and protective factors for SV and SV behaviors. CDC has also developed a technical package to prevent child abuse and neglect and plans to develop other technical packages to highlight the best available evidence in preventing youth violence, intimate partner violence, and suicide.

Young couple with woman hiding her face

A comprehensive preventive approach at multiple levels of the social-ecological model is critical for a population-level impact on sexual violence.

How can this technical package be used?

This technical package is a resource to guide and inform prevention decision making in communities and states. Public health agencies, which typically place prevention at the forefront of efforts to create broad population-level impact, can bring critical leadership and resources to bear on this problem. For example, these agencies can serve as a convener, bringing together partners and stakeholders to plan, prioritize, and coordinate SV prevention efforts. Public health agencies are also well positioned to collect and disseminate data, implement preventive measures, evaluate programs, and to track progress.

Other sectors vital to implementing STOP SV include, but are not limited to, education, government (local, state, and federal), social services, health services, business and labor, justice, housing, media, and organizations that comprise the civil society sector such as rape crisis centers, SV coalitions, faith-based organizations, youth-serving organizations, foundations, and other non-governmental organizations. Collectively, these sectors can make a difference in preventing SV by affecting the conditions that influence underlying risks that contribute to SV.

The hope is that multiple sectors will use the package to take advantage of the best available evidence and join CDC in preventing sexual violence.

Read about CDC’s technical packages for violence prevention and how you can start implementation in your SV prevention work.