Step 1 Identify and Understand the Priority Problem(s) to Focus On

GTO Step 1 helps you understand the problems of sexual assault at your site so you can select an effective prevention activity.


  • Get firsthand knowledge, including data, about the sexual assault problems you want to fix and the population with whom you will work.
  • Narrow the scope of the effort and avoid duplication. Funnel time, energy, and resources to where they are most needed.
  • Ensure that your activities address a priority problem.


  • Gather expertise, opinions, and hard data about the problem and about your community’s current conditions, needs, and existing resources trying to address the problem.
  • Use different methods to gather information and data: for example, community discussion forums and focus groups, interviews with experts, and survey data. More data sources are better than just one.
  • The longer GTO guide has two tools—Triaging Among Problems and Community Resource Assessment tool—that could help you complete this step. You can download a .zip file that contains all of the tools.

Key Points

  • This effort need not take a long time. You can simply review and update the problem data you have gathered in the past.
  • You can direct this effort toward your current SAPA targets to assess how effective your current efforts are and whether the problem has changed or whether you need a different SAPA.
  • Your site's "resources" include policies, previous and existing programs, staff and volunteers, facilities, and local expertise, as well as key leadership support.
  • GTO Step 1 aligns with "understand the problem" in the PPoA prevention process.

Fill Out SAPA Overview

In the SAPA Overview Worksheet (.docx), enter your priority problem in column 1.

Linking GTO Steps

  • Knowing more about the problems or need for SAPA will help you set realistic goals and specific desired outcomes in Step 2.
  • In Step 3, you will be able to select a SAPA appropriate for the problem you have chosen to tackle.

GTO Step 1 Resources

Handbook Overview