What is effective primary prevention in sexual assault?
Primary prevention has been identified as a priority in challenging sexual violence but there is a lack of understanding around what primary prevention is and is not.
Although increasing knowledge or awareness of sexual assault may be a feature of primary prevention, it is not a sufficient outcome. Primary prevention must also change behaviours.
This paper aims to clarify what primary prevention is, based on a multi-level, ecological conceptualisation of the causes of violence.
Although the evidence base lacks many examples of successful primary prevention programs for the sexual assault sector, some work has been done on identifying the elements required for effective primary prevention.
These include: comprehensiveness, community engagement, theory-driven programming, contextualised programming, and evaluation.
This Wrap provides an evidence-based summary of the key issues involved in program design in primary prevention initiatives. It is targeted at those working in the policy and program development areas of sexual assault prevention. Its purpose is to assist decision-making about what primary prevention is, and isn't, and what elements are required for primary prevention to be effective - drawing on information from sexual assault and other fields of primary prevention.
Authors and Acknowledgements
Antonia Quadara was the Coordinator and Liz Wall was a Research Officer with the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault at the Australian Institute of Family Studies.
Quadara, A., & Wall, L. (2012). What is effective primary prevention in sexual assault? Translating the evidence for action (ACSSA Wrap No. 11). Melbourne: Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault, Australian Institute of Family Studies.
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