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Models of Prevention

Primary Prevention

Primary prevention means stopping sexual violence before it occurs, including before someone is harmed and/or causes harm. Primary prevention requires comprehensive and intersectional strategies that address an array of factors and root causes of sexual violence.

Secondary & Tertiary Prevention

We know that sexual violence happens at alarming rates but even though harm has already occurred, there is still the opportunity to prevent harm from happening again. This is where responsive efforts of secondary and tertiary prevention are so important. The goal of Secondary Prevention is to intervene in the short term in order to reduce further harm. Tertiary Prevention is about long-term steps aimed at minimizing impacts of sexual violence and promoting resiliency. These forms of response are often represented through advocacy and direct services for victims/survivors and even perpetrators.


Examples of Secondary Prevention:

  • Direct services advocacy for victims/survivors such as support in navigating the criminal legal system
  • Providing a sexual assault nurse examination (SANE)
  • Training service providers to offer trauma-informed and culturally-responsive care

Examples of Tertiary Prevention:

  • Offering support groups for victims/survivors
  • Programs helping victims/survivors obtain education, employment, housing, and further skill development
  • Court-mandated treatment and educational programs for offenders


Prevention Advocates, Community, Preventionists National

Last modified: 6/15/2022