It’s May and orientation sessions for the incoming classes of transfer students and international students are planned for mid-August.
The campus has a new prevention specialist, who will also provide some response to student victims/survivors as needed. The Title IX Coordinator is about to begin working with the new prevention specialist, Residence Life staff, and the orientation planning committee to meet the education requirements for these students.
What do they need to consider? These staff members can use the Guiding Principles for Prevention to ensure their orientation sessions are trauma-informed, survivor-centered, and compliant.
The Guiding Principles and Their Implications
#1 — Prevention and response training should be in-depth and ongoing. IPV, stalking, and sexual violence are common but very complex issues. In order to make the campus safer, staff, faculty, and students need this level of training.
The staff members should plan training and education beyond just orientation, and should pay special attention to students who might not typically participate in orientation, but still require training.
Incoming international students often need education related to the local, state, and federal laws on IPV as well as dating customs and "safer" alcohol use/harm reduction. Staff who work primarily with international students should partner with students and with campus and/or local IPV experts in creating a curriculum to address specific issues of importance to this diverse population.
It is not safe to assume that transfer students had adequate Title IX and consent training at their previous institution. Provide recommended education for all incoming students, plus an opportunity for students to ask questions specific to your institution's social environment and issues of safety and support on campus and/or in the community.
#2 — Education should be research-based, trauma-informed, and specific to your campus’ needs. Consultation and partnership with campus and/or local IPV experts is key.
The staff members do not have to start from scratch when planning their orientation
Prevention experts all over the country have developed tools and trainings that are based in research and are trauma-informed, and many are free or low-cost. Explore what resources can best be adapted to the needs of your institution. Experts from both North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault partner with campuses to provide support and technical assistance related to IPV, stalking and sexual violence.
Staff can also partner with gender violence experts, including the local domestic violence center staff (who often have expertise on prevention education), to create and administer training on IPV prevention and response. Special attention should be paid to the needs of students from other cultures and institutions.
#3 — Messages should focus on reducing risk factors, come from all parts of campus, and reach constituents multiple times. Messages about primary prevention should focus on reducing risk factors for perpetrating intimate partner and sexual violence, not just on increasing protective factors for potential victims/survivors. These messages are also important for supporting victims/survivors.
While the orientation sessions are important, the staff should also start thinking about additional ways they can contribute to preventing violence across campus and throughout the year.
Ready opportunities for high dosage student training include various orientation activities, Residence Life programming, Greek recruitment, health classes, required classes and domestic violence awareness month programming in October.
Training for students, faculty and other staff should occur at least annually and include information on primary prevention of perpetration, as well as how to respond to students’ disclosures of abuse.
For more information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on risk and protective factors related to intimate partner and sexual violence, visit:
- Intimate Partner Violence: Risk and Protective Factors
- Connecting the Dots (Addresses multiple forms of violence)
#4 — Prevention should be culturally relevant, appropriate, inclusive, and informed by students, especially victims/survivors. Efforts should be responsive to the needs of marginalized and oppressed groups represented on campus, especially LGBTQI+ students, students with disabilities, and students of color. Student input should be a predominant feature in educational or prevention messaging and curriculum development. Messaging should never reinforce negative stereotypes.
Wherever possible, the Title IX and prevention staff should consult and collaborate with employees who work directly with marginalized and historically oppressed populations. These populations include but are not limited to: students of color, female-identified students, immigrant and international students, students with disabilities, and LGBTQI+ students. Input from and partnership with students in these groups will assist training coordinators in creating relevant, and therefore more effective, materials.
Input and feedback from previously enrolled transfer and international students is vital. If possible, the staff planning prevention programming should have student leaders from these groups participate in developing and facilitating the trainings with incoming transfer and international students at orientation and on multiple occasions throughout the academic year.
#5 — Create a comprehensive, strategic plan for implementing, assessing, and evaluating prevention efforts. Developing a comprehensive plan, including evaluation, should be the first step of prevention work.
The prevention specialist should take the lead in designing a comprehensive prevention plan (click here for an example) — a living document that addresses the specific and ever-evolving campus culture, and includes input and guidance from various campus partners, including students.
The prevention specialist should consider carefully how stakeholders will know whether prevention education efforts are working to make the campus safer. Assessment and evaluation results should inform ongoing changes to the plan.
Links to evaluation resources: