Development and Pilot Test of Criteria Defining Best Practices for Organizational Sexual Assault Prevention

Published in: Preventive Medicine Reports, Volume 26 (April 2022). doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2022.101723

Posted on RAND.org on October 19, 2022

by Joie D. Acosta, Matthew Chinman, Andra Tharp, Jack Baker, Paul Flaspohler, Beverly Fortson, Amy Kerr, Andrea Lamont, Amanda Meyer, Sierra Smucker, et al.

Sexual violence affects millions of Americans, and approximately one out of every three women and one out of every four men have experienced sexual violence during their lifetime. While prevention efforts have focused on implementing specific programmatic approaches, there has been relatively little focus on developing comprehensive and effective approaches to reduce sexual assault prevention across an organization. This study describes the development of the Prevention Evaluation Framework, an assessment targeting organizational best practices for comprehensive sexual assault prevention across multiple domains including human resources, collaborative relationships and infrastructure, use of evidence-informed approaches, quality implementation and continuous evaluation of programs/policies. Using the structured RAND/University of California, Los Angeles appropriateness method to develop the assessment, we conducted a literature review and solicited expert feedback about what a comprehensive organizational approach to sexual assault prevention should entail. We then pilot tested the assessment with 3 United States military service academies; and continued to improve and adapt the assessment to a range of organizations with input from 6 Department of Defense headquarters organizations, and 9 universities across the country. Given the nascent state of the evidence about what makes an effective organizational approach to sexual assault prevention, the assessment reflects one way of promoting quality in this evolving field. The consistency between the experts' ratings and the literature, and the relevance of the items across organizations suggest that the assessment provides important guidance to inform the development of comprehensive organizational approaches to sexual assault prevention and to the evaluation of ongoing efforts.

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