Rape and Sexual Assault Prevention Program

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Sexual Violence in Maryland

Thousands of Marylanders are affected by sexual violence each year. About one in five (or 466,000) adult women have been forcibly raped and one in six (or 359,000) adult men have experienced sexual violence at some point in their lifetimes (NISVS, 2010). 

Sexual violence is connected to other forms of violence, increasing the likelihood that survivors experience multiple forms of abuse. This overlap highlights shared risk and protective factors among various forms of violence. For example, a teen with a childhood history of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse is at higher risk to either experience or commit sexual violence later in life. Violence prevention efforts can aim to reduce multiple forms of harm at the same time. You can find more information about sexual violence here (Link to Public Page). 


About the Rape and Sexual Assault Prevention Program (RSAPP)

RSAPP leads Maryland’s primary prevention efforts to reduce sexual violence. RSAPP supports prevention projects that aim to reduce sexual violence in Maryland by providing resources, training, and information. RSAPP is responsible for using data to prioritize populations of focus, identify effective strategies, and support partners. 

Ongoing evaluation of program effectiveness, impact, and reach of sexual violence prevention activities is conducted by RSAPP and its supported partners. RSAPP works with partners in prevention and skilled evaluators to collect, track, and report data related to sexual violence prevention in Maryland. In addition to victimization and perpetration of sexual violence, RSAPP tracks several risk and protective factors, such as social norms and community connectedness.

RSAPP works with many partners in prevention, including state agencies, non-profit organizations, colleges, and businesses. RSAPP supports evidence-based and evidence-informed prevention and intervention activities. Specific initiatives and partnerships are outlined below. 


Partners in Prevention

RSAPP’s partners play an integral role in the prevention of sexual violence and implementation of activities. These include: 

  • ​Rape Crisis and Recovery Centers: In collaboration with the Governor's Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services (GOCPYVS), MDH supports several rape crisis and recovery centers to conduct primary prevention activities in their communities. The sexual assault programs provide social norms change activities, bystander intervention, youth engagement, organizational changes, and changes to the built environment to decrease rape and sexual assault in Maryland. 

  • Statewide Coalition-building: The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Inc. (MCASA) is the federally recognized statewide umbrella organization for sexual assault. MCASA conducts coalition-building activities across the state to shift norms related to acceptability of violence and to create a culture of strong sanctions and accountability. They also engage with schools and college campuses to improve their responses by promoting changes to the environment. 

  • College-based Sexual Assault Prevention: The college-based sexual assault prevention program engages students in sexual violence prevention on their college campus. The participating colleges provide sexual violence prevention programming, such as bystander intervention and programming to engage men as allies in the effort to end sexual violence.​

  • Maryland Women of Color Network (WOCN): In partnership with MCASA’s Maryland WOCN initiative, RSAPP supports their annual conference. The conference brings together professionals and community leaders to promote best practices in sexual violence and to improve cultural competency so survivors of color are supported when they seek help.

  • Supporting Survivors: RSAPP supports projects that aim to serve survivors of sexual violence to lessen harms. This includes counseling services, hotline services, and advocacy services. To find your local sexual assault program in Maryland, visit MCASA’s webpage.

  • Forensic Nurse Training: RSAPP supports training initiatives that aim to expand the capacity of nurses to conduct sexual assault forensic exams. For a list of Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE) programs in Maryland, go here.

Get Involved (RISEMD)

MDH coordinates a statewide Alliance called RISEMD to address the prevention of sexual violence, intimate partner violence, stalking, and child sexual abuse in Maryland. This group promotes primary prevention strategies and uses feedback from members to guide sexual violence priorities. Those interested in joining RISEMD can email  ​mdh.risemd@maryland.gov.

Resources

  • CDC’s Stop SV: A Technical Package to Prevent Sexual Violence (2016) is a collection of evidence-based strategies compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 
  • Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA) provides educational materials and trainings for professionals and organizations interested in sexual violence in Maryland.
  • National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) provides leadership in preventing and responding to sexual violence. Their resources include educational materials, trainings, and resources.
  • Prevent Connect is a national project of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) that promotes primary prevention of sexual assault and relationship violence by building a community of practice among professionals.
  • Veto Violence was created by the CDC to provide tools and resources that support violence prevention and use of evidence-based prevention strategies.​