Sexual Assault Prevention Strategies
Sexual assault (SA) is a serious problem that can have lasting, harmful effects on victims and their family, friends, and communities. In order to prevent SA, we must understand and address risk and protective factors at the individual, relational, community, and societal levels.
Risk and Protective Factors
Risk factors are linked to a greater likelihood of sexual assault (SA) perpetration. They are contributing factors and might not be direct causes. Not everyone who is identified as at risk becomes a perpetrator of violence. A combination of individual, relational, community, and societal factors contribute to the risk of becoming a perpetrator of SA. Understanding these factors can help identify various opportunities for prevention.
Risk Factors for Perpetration
Individual Risk Factors
- Alcohol and drug use
- Lack of concern for others
- Aggressive behaviors and acceptance of violent behaviors
- Early sexual initiation
- Coercive sexual fantasies
- Preference for impersonal sex and sexual-risk taking
- Exposure to sexually explicit media
- Hostility towards women
- Adherence to traditional gender role norms
- Suicidal behavior
- Prior sexual victimization or perpetration
- Family history of conflict and violence
- Childhood history of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
- Emotionally unsupportive family environment
- Poor parent-child relationships, particularly with fathers
- Association with sexually aggressive, hypermasculine, and delinquent peers
- Involvement in a violent or abusive intimate relationship
- Lack of employment opportunities
- Lack of institutional support from police and judicial system
- General tolerance of sexual violence within the community
- Weak community sanctions against sexual violence perpetrators
- Societal norms that support sexual violence
- Societal norms that support male superiority and sexual entitlement
- Societal norms that maintain women’s inferiority and sexual submissiveness
- Weak laws and policies related to sexual violence and gender equity
- High levels of crime and other forms of violence
Protective Factors for Perpetration
Protective factors may lessen the likelihood of sexual violence victimization or perpetration. These factors can exist at individual, relational, community, and societal levels.
- Families where caregivers work through conflicts peacefully
- Emotional health and connectedness
- Academic achievement
- Empathy and concern for how one’s actions affect others
Stop Sexual Assault
|S||Promote Social Norms that Protect Against Violence||
|T||Teach Skills to Prevent Sexual Violence||
|O||Provide Opportunities to Empower and Support Girls and Women||
|P||Create Protective Environments||
|SV||Support Victims/Survivors to Lessen Harms||
Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical violence, rape, stalking and emotional or psychological abuse. In the United States, domestic violence is commonly associated with cases of sexual assault, stalking, homicide, mental illness and suicide. The pervasiveness and complexity of domestic violence mean that anyone — regardless of age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion or social standing — can be affected by this kind of abuse at any point in their life.
Through this event, future activities and organization we are establishing we hope to aid many victims and their families.
Please review the resources below to aid your suffering or the suffering of loved ones.
Abusive Relationship Behaviors & Signs
While each individual will respond differently to an abusive relationship, these behaviors and signs may enable you or a loved one to escape the potential perils.
Victim – Domestic Violence Behaviors & Signs
- Constantly fearing the person when they’re around, or feeling fearful while awaiting their arrival
- Being repeatedly humiliated, intimidated, criticized, belittled or yelled at
- Being controlled or dominated
- Having pain intentionally inflicted by hand or object (punching, slapping, pushing, squeezing, cutting, stabbing, bludgeoning, etc.)
- Being objectified (physically, sexually, etc.)
- Blaming yourself for the person’s abusive behavior toward you
- Being physically or verbally forced into doing things you don’t want to do
- Being threatened
- Being isolated and forbidden from seeing your friends and family
- Having your personal belongings confiscated, destroyed or monitored
- Having all of your physical movements monitored
Loved One – Domestic Violence Behaviors & Signs
- Act nervous and uneasy around the topic of their partner
- Receive frequent, harassing calls or texts from their partner while with you
- Make constant attempts to please their partner
- Describe their partner as possessive or jealous
- Tell you frequent stories of accidental injuries to explain cuts, bruises and scratches
- Miss school, work or other social obligations, with frequent excuses or no explanation at all
- Wear long sleeves in warm places or sunglasses indoors or when it’s not sunny out
- Have low self-esteem
- Show signs of depression or anxiety
- Blame themselves for a physical altercation with their partner, if they admit that it happened at all
- Make excuses for their partner and justify their abusive behavior
- Become irritable or angry when you try to reason with them about their partner
Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA) supports, counsels and empowers victims of sexual assault and other serious crimes in Bucks County and works to prevent and eliminate violence in society through advocacy, training, community education and prevention programs.
Founded in 1974, NOVA is a non-profit 501 (c) (3), community-based organization. Services are made possible through the financial support of federal, state, and local government grants and contracts, United Way of Bucks County, corporations, foundations and private donations. All contributions are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.
We believe that all individuals should be empowered to make decisions about their lives, to be secure from violation of their bodies and personal space, and to live in a society free from violence. We further believe that society has a responsibility to educate and support individuals with regard to these rights.
Therefore, NOVA will serve the Bucks County community by providing direct support to victims of sexual assault and other personal violations and advancing the rights of victims through advocacy and prevention education programs. In these efforts, NOVA will strive to develop programs and services which empower individuals and promote respect for the privacy, uniqueness and dignity of all people.
NOVA envisions a society free of violence, one that empowers individuals and promotes respect for the privacy, diversity and dignity of all people.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) was created by Congress in 2000 as part of the Children’s Health Act to raise the standard of care and increase access to services for children and families who experience or witness traumatic events. This unique network of frontline providers, family members, researchers, and national partners is committed to changing the course of children’s lives by improving their care and moving scientific gains quickly into practice across the U.S. The NCTSN is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and coordinated by the UCLA-Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCCTS). The NCTSN has grown from 17 funded centers in 2001 to 116 currently funded centers and 170 Affiliate (formerly funded) centers and individuals, working in hospitals, universities, and community-based programs in 43 states and the District of Columbia. To accomplish the NCTSN mission, grantees and Affiliates work to:
The mission of the National Center for Victims of Crime is to forge a national commitment to help victims of crime rebuild their lives. We are dedicated to serving individuals, families, and communities harmed by crime.