Effective or Not? Measuring Outcomes of Sexual Violence Primary Prevention Programs

  • Gwenda M. WillisEmail author
  • Natalie S. Germann


Sexual violence prevention programs have been implemented widely and researched extensively; however, few programs have demonstrated effectiveness in preventing sexual violence. Without carefully planned and executed evaluations, there is a risk that ineffective programs will be promoted and resources wasted. Measuring the effectiveness of sexual violence prevention programs presents several challenges: official reports grossly underestimate the incidence of sexual violence, and self-reported sexual aggression may be unreliable due to socially desirable responding and/or fear of legal consequences. Moreover, many commonly used scales rely on assessing participants’ attitudes, which may not translate into behavioral changes. In this chapter, we address these and related challenges in selecting appropriate outcome measures in the evaluation of sexual violence prevention programs. A comprehensive literature review identified more than 50 pen-and-paper questionnaires that assess relevant outcome variables including sexual violence victimization, perpetration and bystander behavior. Validity of the most promising (i.e., showing adequate reliability across independent samples) and commonly used measures is discussed. The chapter concludes with a set of recommendations for assessing sexual violence perpetration and victimization across diverse populations.


Sexual violence prevention Sexual aggression Victimization Bystander behavior Outcome measurement Program evaluation 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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