SOPHE publishes journal supplement on campus sexual assault policy and prevention

Guest editorial and eight articles are open access

Washington, D.C. – May 26, 2020 –The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) announces the publication of “Campus Sexual Assault Policy and Prevention,” an open access supplement of its peer-reviewed journal Health Education & Behavior. The June 2020 online-only supplement features an introductory editorial and eight articles with evidence-based strategies aimed at reducing multiple risk factors for sexual violence prevention and policy.

Articles address innovative approaches to prevent sexual violence at a wide range of post-secondary institutions, including four-year public and private universities, faith-based institutions, liberal arts colleges, community colleges and technical schools, single-gender colleges, and historically black colleges and universities. The issue is especially timely given that colleges and universities that receive federal funding must comply with a new Department of Education regulation to address campus sexual assault by August 14, 2020.

Among university students, approximately 23% of undergraduate women and nearly 6% of men report a nonconsensual sexual act during their time on campuses. Women who experience sexual violence, stalking or intimate partner violence report significantly higher rates of chronic conditions such as asthma, chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, and difficulty sleeping as compared to their peers who have not experienced violence. Moreover, females who receive a negative, unsupportive reaction to disclosure of sexual assault also demonstrate a greater likelihood of PTSD and depression, and substance abuse.

“Ending campus sexual assault is an important priority for our educational institutions,” writes co-guest editor Elizabeth Watts, PhD, MPH, research scientist, NORC at the University of Chicago. “This study collection is the result of years of work of university-based research centers, statewide coalitions against sexual violence, and national nonprofit organizations that illuminates what can be done to prevent campus sexual assault.”

Included in the special HE&B supplement are articles describing the use of regional networks for post-secondary institutions addressing sexual assault; sexual assault on community college campuses; experiences implementing culturally tailored approaches to sexual violence prevention and response; using smartphone apps for addressing sexual violence; utilizing environmental scans to identify opportunities and barriers to address sexual assault; correlations of sexual assault occurring in a student’s first year of college; and tools to assess the accessibility of online sexual violence-related resources.

“We hope these articles equip university administrators, researchers and practitioners in the fields of higher education and/or sexual violence to better understand, prevent, and respond to sexual violence-related behaviors on college campuses,” says HE&B co-guest editor Lisa Lieberman, PhD, CHES®, professor, Montclair State University. “Stronger prevention and support for student survivors of sexual assault and harassment should be an institutional priority.”
The HE&B supplement is available at

SOPHE is grateful to the following organizations that supported the open access dissemination of this special collection: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Injury Research and Policy; Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing; Futures Without Violence; NORC at the University of Chicago; Texas Woman’s University; University of Kansas Department of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies; University of Kansas School of Social Welfare; University of Kansas School of Public Affairs & Administration; and University of New Hampshire’s Prevention Innovations Research Center (PIRC).

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About Health Education & Behavior
Health Education & Behavior (HE&B) is a peer-reviewed, bimonthly journal of the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE). The journal provides empirical research, case studies, program evaluations, literature reviews, and discussions of theories of health behavior and health status, and strategies to improve social and behavioral health. HE&B examines the processes of planning, implementing, managing, and assessing health education and social-behavioral interventions.