The purpose of this project is to build and enhance the capacity of the State of Connecticut (CT) to reduce and ultimately eliminate sexual violence (SV) by using a public health approach to prevent first-time perpetration and victimization. SV is a significant public health problem in CT with nearly 1 in 2 CT women and 1 in 5 CT men have experienced SV in their lifetime . Among CT high school students, 7.5% report being forced to have sexual intercourse in their lifetimes, and 10% reported experiencing dating sexual violence in the past 12 months . This project focuses on the outer layers of the socio-ecologic model to prevent SV by providing community level interventions that create protective environments and provide opportunities to empower women and girls.
The project engages the collaborative efforts of community partners such as the state sexual assault coalition, The Alliance to End Sexual Violence, as well as their member Rape Crisis Centers, and additional key stakeholders at the State Department of Education, the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Injury Prevention Center at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, and the Community Health Center Association of Connecticut to implement community-level strategies to prevent sexual violence. The overarching goal of the project is based on Healthy People 2020 objectives: IVP-40.1—Reduce rape or attempted rape; IVP-40.2—Reduce abusive sexual contact other than rape or attempted rape. The overarching purpose of this project is to create Connecticut communities that are healthy, safe and free of sexual violence by: (1) Increasing the use of partnerships to implement community-level strategies and improve coordination of state SV prevention efforts; (2) Increasing the use of data driven decision making for program delivery; (3) Increasing the use of indicator data to track implementation and outcomes; (4) Creating environmental and community changes that result from selected community-level strategies; and (5) Demonstrating changes in selected risk and protective factors.
The project will incorporate a comprehensive state-wide evaluation through expert evaluators at the Consultation Center at Yale. The Consultation Center has worked with the CT RPE program to develop an evaluation plan with selected SV indicators. Short-term project outcomes include increased alignment between state-level goals and prevention strategies at state and local levels; increased capacity from partnerships to access and use data and leverage support; increased data-driven decision making, increased number of process and outcome evaluation activities implemented, increased percentage of community-level approaches implemented, and increased tracking of state-level SV indicators. Intermediate outcomes include increased use of partnerships to implement community-level strategies and improve coordination of state SV prevention efforts; demonstrated use of data-driven decision making for program delivery; demonstrated use of indicator data to track implementation and outcomes; demonstrated environmental and community changes from community-level strategies; increased protective factors and decreased risk factors related to SV perpetration and victimization; and improved treatment of SV victims in the court system.