Prevention Strategies

Sexual violence is a serious problem that can have lasting, harmful effects on victims and their family, friends, and communities. The goal of sexual violence prevention is to stop it from happening in the first place. The solutions are just as complex as the problem.

Preventing sexual violence requires addressing factors at all levels of the social ecology—the individual, relational, community, and societal levels.

CDC’s STOP SV: A Technical Package to Prevent Sexual Violence pdf icon[2.85MB, 48Pages,508] highlights strategies based on the best available evidence to help communities and states prevent and reduce sexual 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.



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 articles and publications about prevention strategies for sexual violence. 

Page last reviewed: January 17, 2020