Skip to main content

Prevention in Intact Communities

Mandatory Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Prevention Education for New Graduate Students:
Prevention in Intact Communities

June 2017

All members of the UC Berkeley community have a unique and important role in transforming our campus culture to one that does not allow violence, harm, or abuse to occur. For this reason, the PATH to Care Center strives to increase the capacity of community members to promote healthy relationships and respectful communication within the context of naturally occurring social networks or communities. In-person sessions, held within students’ academic programs and led by leaders within their programs, encourage behavioral change to prevent sexual violence and sexual harassment (SVSH), emphasize the importance of care for our community, and foster a culture of respect for all members of the UC Berkeley community. Through collaboration between the PATH to Care Center and other campus departments, we increase the potential to influence peers in social and academic spaces, and allow these leaders to actively shape campus culture.

Prevention Research

Implementing prevention programs within intact communities is an effective approach, according to research. This is supported by evaluations conducted in our community (see “We have found that peer-facilitated sessions” section below).

  • Bystander Intervention has been repeatedly found to be an effective strategy to address sexual violence in the campus community (Campus Technical Assistance and Resource Project, n.d.; Coker et al., 2011; Coker et al., 2014; DeMaria, Sundstrom, Grzejdziak, Gabel, & Cabot, 2015; Dills, Fowler, & Payne, 2016; Katz & Moore, 2013; Koelsch, Brown, & Boisen, 2012; National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 2013; Peterson et al., 2016; White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, 2017).
  • Social Norms Change has also been identified as a vital component of successful sexual violence prevention efforts (Burn, 2009; Campus Technical Assistance and Resource Project, n.d.; Gidycz, Orchowski, & Berkowitz, 2011; National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 2013).
  • It is a promising practice to present violence prevention education to intact groups: sub-communities whose members have shared norms, values, identities, and/or priorities (Campus Technical Assistance and Resource Project, n.d.; Gidycz, Orchowski, & Berkowitz, 2011). One particular benefit to work with intact groups is the opportunity to increase the responsibility participants feel for the wellbeing of one another (Baynard, 2011; Baynard & Moynihan, 2011; National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 2013).
  • Prevention efforts that utilize popular opinion leaders serve to redefine social norms. These so-called ordinary people become change agents in their community. Prevention programs with facilitators who demonstrate “expertise, trustworthiness, status, [and] likeability” (Lonsway, 1996, p. 255) have a positive impact on program participants. The familiar and trusted perspective brought by a reputable peer facilitator increases relevance and relatability for participants, and helps to reinforce healthy and positive norms (Banyard, Moynihan, & Crossman, 2009; Burn, 2009; Casey & LIndhorst, 2009; Centers for Disease, 2014; Coker et al., 2011; Coker et al., 2014; DeMaria, Sundstrom, Grzejdziak, Gabel, & Cabot, 2015; Dills, Fowler, & Payne, 2016; Fernandez et al, 2003; Jozkowski, Henry, & Sturm, 2014; Kelly, 2004; Peterson et al., 2016; Vladutiu, Martin, & Macy, 2011

Prevention Implementation at UC Berkeley

During the Summer of 2016, the PATH to Care Center partnered with the Graduate Assembly to successfully train 45 staff and student representatives across 14 departments to deliver SVSH education at their departments’ new student orientation programs. These partnerships created opportunities for the development of new and existing leaders to foster new ways to push the envelope of prevention and focus on impacting the culture and environment. Overall, data from the within department education sessions shows they were well-received, with many participants citing how the meaningful the experience was. General themes that emerged emphasized participant’s satisfaction with the comprehensiveness of the content, the relevance of the material reflected the needs and concerns of the graduate student community, as well as an appreciation for the smaller size of the audience.

We have found that peer-facilitated sessions:

  • Remind our community that each one of us has a unique and important role to play in creating a safe community;
  • Ensure all students receive consistent messaging and information on the prevention of sexual violence and harassment due to our “train the trainer” sessions;
  • Aid in changing social norms to create healthy and welcoming environments for all;
  • Empower students, staff, and faculty to recognize the valuable roles they play in preventing sexual violence;
  • Assist departments in building capacity for violence prevention strategies that are culturally relevant to the department’s needs, and supportive of survivors;
  • And allow knowledge sharing among peers, staff, and faculty.


Community-led trainings play a critical role in fostering positive social norms and ensuring that all our communities have the tools and information they need to prevent violence. Please consider hosting an in-department, community member-led training to help us reach our goal of a campus free of violence.


Baynard, V. L. (2011). Who will help prevent sexual violence: Creating an ecological model of bystander intervention. Psychology of Violence, 1(3), 216-229.

Banyard, V. L., & Moynihan, M. M. (2011). Variation in bystander behavior related to sexual and intimate partner violence prevention: Correlates in a sample of college students. Psychology of Violence, 1(4), 287-301.

Banyard, V., Moynihan, M. M., & Crossman, M. T. (2009). Reducing sexual violence on campus: The role of student leaders as empowered bystanders. Journal of College Student Development, 50(4), 446-457.

Burn, S. M. (2009). A situational model of sexual assault prevention through bystander intervention. Sex Roles, 60, 779-792.

Campus Technical Assistance and Resource Project. (n.d.). Addressing gender-based violence on college campuses: Guide to a comprehensive model. Retrieved from

Casey, E. A., & Lindhorst, T. P. (2009). Toward a multi-level, ecological approach to the primary prevention of sexual assault. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 10(2), 91-114.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (2014). Preventing sexual violence on college campuses: Lessons from research and practice (S. DeGue, D. Fowler, & A. Randall, Authors). Retrieved from

Coker, A. L., Cook-Craig, P. G., Williams, C. M., Fisher, B. S., Clear, E. R., Garcia, L. S., & Hegge, L. M. (2011). Evaluation of Green Dot: An active bystander intervention to reduce sexual violence on college campuses. Violence Against Women, 1-20.

Coker, A. L., Fisher, B. S., Bush, H. M., Swan, S. C., Williams, C. M., Clear, E. R., & DeGue, S. (2014). Evaluation of the green dot bystander intervention to reduce interpersonal violence among college students across three campuses. Violence Against Women, 1-21.

Dills, J., Fowler, D., & Payne, G. (2016, November). Sexual violence on campus: Strategies for prevention. Retrieved from National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention website:

DeMaria, A. L., Sundstrom, B., Grzejdziak, M., Gabel, C., & Cabot, J. (2015). It’s not my place: Formative evaluation research to design a bystander intervention campaign. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 1-23.

Fernandez, M. I., Bowen, G. S., Gay, C. L., Mattson, T. R., Bital, E., & Kelly, J. A. (2003). HIV, sex, and social change: Applying ESID principles to HIV prevention research. American Journal of Community Psychology, 32(3/4), 333-344.

Gidycz, C. A., Orchowski, L. M., & Berkowitz, A. D. (2011). Preventing sexual aggression among college men: An evaluation of a social norms and bystander intervention program. Violence Against Women, 17(6), 720-742.

Jozkowski, K. N., Henry, D. S., & Sturm, A. A. (2014). College students’ perceptions of the importance of sexual assault prevention education: Suggestions for targeting recruitment for peer-based education. Health Education Journal, 74(1), 46-59.

Katz, J., & Moore, J. (2013). Bystander education training for campus sexual assault prevention: An initial meta-analysis. Violence and Victims, 28(6), 1054-1067.

Kelly, J. A. (2004). Popular opinion leaders and HIV prevention peer education: Resolving discrepant findings, and implications for the development of effective community programmes. AIDS Care, 16(2), 139-150.

Koelsch, L. E., Brown, A. L., & Boisen, L. (2012). Bystander perceptions: Implications for university sexual assault prevention programs. Violence and Victims, 27(4), 563-579.

Lonsway, K. A. (1996). Preventing acquaintance rape through education. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 20, 229-265.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center. (2013). Engaging bystanders to prevent sexual violence: A guide for preventionists. Retrieved from

Peterson, K., Sharps, P., Banyard, V., Powers, R., Kaukinen, C., Gross, D., . . . Campbell, J. (2016). An evaluation of two dating violence prevention programs on a college campus. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 1-26.

Vladutiu, C. J., Martin, S. L., & Macy, R. J. (2011). College- or university-based sexual assault prevention programs: A review of program outcomes, characteristics, and recommendations. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 12(2), 67-86.

White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. (2017, January). Preventing and addressing campus sexual misconduct: A guide for university and college presidents, chancellors, and senior administrators. Retrieved from