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Indiana State Department of Health

Office of Women's Health > Sexual Violence Primary Prevention Program Sexual Violence Primary Prevention Program


Indiana’s Commitment to Sexual Violence Primary Prevention

Indiana recognizes that every Hoosier deserves to live in a safe and supportive environment where he/she can flourish. To this end, the ISDH Office of Women's Health has made a strong commitment to the primary prevention of sexual violence. Primary prevention focuses on stopping first time sexual violence victimization and perpetration. In 2010, the state developed its first comprehensive plan to address sexual violence, entitled Indiana’s Commitment to Primary Prevention: A State Free of Sexual Violence 2010-2015. This plan provided guidance for advocacy agencies across the Hoosier state to find a role in stopping sexual violence.

In 2015, the ISDH Office of Women's Health, along with nearly 30 community-based and governmental partner agencies, recommitted to ending sexual violence in Indiana. The Sexual Violence Primary Prevention Council (SVPPC) worked together to develop a comprehensive primary prevention plan under which individual advocates, community agencies, coalitions and governmental agencies can work to stop sexual violence in their communities. This plan is entitled the Indiana Sexual Violence Primary Prevention Plan 2016 - 2021.  You can find links to both of the state plans to end sexual violence located below:

Sexual Violence Primary Prevention Plan 2016 - 2021

Indiana's Commitment to Primary Prevention:  A State Free of Sexual Violence 2010 - 2015

For more information about sexual violence primary prevention efforts, or to join the SVPPC, please contact Terri Lee, Violence Prevention Program Director, at (317) 233-7056 or email at

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Rape Prevention and Education Program

Rape, and other forms of sexual violence, is preventable. Recognizing this, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act in 1994. This landmark legislation established the Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) program at CDC. The goal of the RPE program is to strengthen sexual violence prevention efforts at the local, state, and national level. It operates in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and six U.S. territories.

Guiding Principles of the RPE Program

Primary prevention is the cornerstone of the RPE program. Program activities are guided by a set of prevention principles that include:

  • Preventing first-time perpetration and victimization;
  • Reducing modifiable risk factors while enhancing protective factors associated with sexual violence perpetration and victimization;
  • Using the best available evidence when planning, implementing, and evaluating prevention programs;
  • Incorporating behavior and social change theories into prevention programs;
  • Using population-based surveillance to inform program decisions and monitor trends; and
  • Evaluating prevention efforts and using the results to improve future program plans (CDC, 2013).

Indiana's Rape Prevention and Education Program

Indiana’s RPE Program is administered through the Office of Women’s Health (OWH) at the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH). OWH recognized the significant effect that sexual assault has had on the overall health of women in the state. Since 2008, OWH has administered the federally funded Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) program to help reduce and eliminate the incidence of sexual violence across the state.

ISDH approaches sexual violence from a public health perspective, recognizing that primary prevention, including efforts to change cultural norms, behaviors, and practices is essential to create a state free from violence.  Public health is concerned with community and population-based approaches rather than those focused on the individual, and uses data-informed, evidence-based approaches. All sexual violence primary prevention program planning and implementation is rooted in a four-step practice in the public health approach (CDC, 2013).

  • Define the problem – define the problem using data
  • Identify risk and protective factors – identify what causes violence, who is at risk, and what protective factors could prevent sexual violence
  • Develop and test prevention strategies – design and evaluate interventions
  • Ensure widespread adoption - create programs that utilize evidence-based strategies to address  sexual violence


RPE-funded Program Information in Indiana

Click here to learn about sexual violence primary prevention programs in Indiana.