Primary prevention efforts change conditions (laws, norms, rules) so perpetration is less likely to happen. They are designed to shift attitudes, behaviors, and norms that support and perpetuate the root causes of violence and promote healthy behavior and communities. These strategies are designed to prevent initial perpetration.  Best practice strategies will be saturated, theory-driven, address multiple levels of the SEM, rooted in anti-oppression, address risk & protective factors, and informed by community needs/resources.

Examples may include:  

  • Workshops series to explore and practice skills related to healthy sexuality, equity, communication, or other qualities important to young people’s developmental needs.  
  • Bystander intervention program that trains students and faculty to interrupt oppressive language and implements campaigns and/or policies to create a healthy and non-violent community climate campus-wide.  
  • Community-led projects that identify specific root causes of violence and long-term, sustainable strategies to build power in marginalized communities.


Secondary prevention efforts occur immediately following an instance of violence to reduce short term harms, while tertiary prevention efforts are the long-term responses to violence aiming to minimize the lasting consequences and promote resiliency. Often referred to as our advocacy direct services, aim to improve short- and long-term outcomes for survivors (and perpetrators). 

Examples may include:  

  • On-going individual advocacy. 
  • Guidance & support in the legal system, especially around obtaining a protective order. 
  • Advocacy or therapeutic play groups for children who witness violence 
  • Support groups. 
  • Offender management/treatment programs. 


Awareness and education programs increase people’s understanding of sexual and intimate partner violence.  
These strategies provide definitions, highlight the services offered in a community, describe the impact of violence, provide a scope of the prevalence, give information for how to help survivors, outline reporting options, etc.

Examples may include:  

  • Community events such as a walk, fundraising gala, or survivor speak-out.  
  • Classroom sessions that present SA/IPV statistics, myths vs. facts, information about “date rape” drugs, how to support friends, and what students should do if they have experienced sexual assault or dating violence.  
  • Large group presentation (auditorium style) about warning signs and safety tips.  
  • A workshop for parents on what child sexual abuse is, how to identify signs of potential abuse, and how to make a report or access services. 


Risk reduction strategies focus on changing the behavior of the prospective victim by helping people “avoid” experiencing victimization. While individuals can make an investment in their personal safety, ultimately only perpetrators are in control of violence occurring.  

These strategies do not change the problem of violence and can sometimes reinforce victim-blaming attitudes.

Examples may include:  

  • Workshop or educational materials on personal safety strategies such as the buddy system, watching your drink, and carrying keys in your hand. 
  • Self-defense classes for women. 
  • Bystander intervention programs that focus on intervening when violence is already in progress or likely to occur. 

Have questions? Contact our prevention team by clicking here.

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