New Study Finds Sexual Assault Awareness Programs Are Effective in Reducing Incidents on Campus

In the wide-ranging campaign to reduce and eliminate sexual assaults on college campuses, many educational institutions have created training and awareness programs that students are required to take during orientation programs. The question is: Are these programs effective in reducing sexual assaults?

A new study funded by a grant from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, finds a web-based training program targeted at college-age men is an effective tool to reduce the number of sexual assaults on campus. A group of 700 men at a large university were surveyed before and after they underwent a sexual assault awareness program and again six month later. The results showed that the men were more likely to intervene with their peers to prevent sexual assault and less likely to be sexual offenders than a control group that did not receive the training.

Laura_SalazarThe training program was geared to develop empathy among men for victims of rape and sexual assault and to educate them about the legal risks of having sex when they and their women partners were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Laura Salazar, associate professor of health promotion and behavior at Georgia State University in Atlanta and the lead author of the study, said that the program “is focused on helping them not get in trouble, helping them communicate with their sexual partners, and teaching them skills to intervene.”

Dr. Salazar has been on the faculty at Georgia State since 2011. Previously she taught at Emory University in Atlanta. Dr. Salazar is a graduate of the University at Buffalo of the State University of New York System. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in community psychology from Georgia State.

The research, “A Web-Based Sexual Violence Bystander Intervention for Male College Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. The paper may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/StudySexual Assault/Harassment


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