How To Create a Sexual Assault Awareness Program | PSA Worldwide

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Creating a Sexual Assault Awareness Campaign

Sexual Assault Awareness Month provides your installation with a great opportunity to continue an ongoing program on preventing sexual assault. Many great campaigns exist on the subject of sexual violence prevention, so it is important that your office be intentional in creating a unique campaign designed around the installation, its members, and potentially prevalent issues and problems. Educate your members by sharing basic information and providing tools for healthy conversation. This is crucial to advancing prevention on a local and national level. Use the following steps to create a strong campaign that raises immediate awareness, but also focuses on ongoing prevention in the military. 

Step 1: Determine Objectives

Every organization is different, so no two campaigns are alike. The first step of organizing a sexual assault awareness campaign is figuring out what you want to accomplish. Understanding what specific issues exist at the installation will help you identify your main objectives and how best to implement a measurement plan.


Using Known Issues to Identify Objectives

It is important to tailor your campaign to your installation’s population. The best prevention stops actual, tangible issues from occurring and trickles down from there. In identifying your objectives, first focus on the main issues within your particular installation. These issues should ideally be based on tracked data. Then determine what support you can provide. By knowing the issues impacting your members, you can effectively reach your campaign goals.


Measures of Success

Part of identifying your objectives is knowing what comprises success and how you measure it. These measures can stem from numerous goals, but powerful ones can include:

    • Populations reached
    • Number of people utilizing available resources
    • An increase in reporting of existing incidents
    • Feedback collected from attendees
    • Formal assessment of unit and opinions
    • Attendance at events
    • Participation in awareness initiatives

It is important that you identify what will be considered successful for your campaign before it begins. These measures should be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time oriented (SMART). Ultimately, these measures will help you identify the impact of your campaign, justify the cost you spend on promotional resources, and attract potential partners for future programs.

Identifying your campaign objectives first allows for the planning of your schedule, determining of events, and awareness training. For more information on pinpointing campaign objectives, we recommend the following sources:


Step 2: Determine your Resources

"Finances are something you have to consider well before April and might already be written into your budget for the year."

Sexual assault awareness campaigns require an abundance of resources. By now, it is likely that you have been allocated a budget to implement your awareness campaign. As any event planner or program organizer is aware, monetary resources are not the only concern you must address when considering resources. The following are resources we consider to be of vital importance.


The easiest resource to identify is your finances. These will impact everything from the promotional materials utilized during your campaign to your ability to bring in outside programs, secure event locations, and more. Finances must be considered well before April and might already be written into your budget for the year. When examining finances, it is important to determine what works well and what doesn't. Even if this year's finances are set, take into stock the different initiatives you hope to establish and use your objectives to figure out how you can more effectively use your resources next year.



Time is a resource, especially when you have numerous responsibilities or a set, limited number of staff or volunteers to carry out events. Be cautious and realistic as you establish a timeline for each event. Accurate time predictions will help when asking volunteers for hours and prepping for the month. No one wants to scramble to find available staff or volunteers at the last minute. Considerations for labor hours should include how much setup time will be needed before the event, what staffing is required during the event, and what resources are needed for tear down after the event.


Marketing and Promotional Material

Awareness campaigns often utilize promotional materials to attract interest. These promotional materials are integral to any campaign because your team can passively share information without requiring too much setup, expert education, or active participation at an event. Marketing and promotional materials generally appear in two ways:

When purchasing or creating promotional materials, consider those that are more likely to be timeless. Marketing materials with statistics that might change or include revolving events will need to be redone repeatedly. Always place your orders with enough lead time before the launch of your awareness campaign.

Overall, your resources are going to determine the scope of your campaign and the type of events you can host. As with objectives, it is important to address these resources before moving forward with any other part of your campaign.

Promotional resources and educational materials for Sexual Assault Awareness Month can be found through PSA Worldwide.

Step 3: Segment Your Audience

As an organization with an ongoing mission for sexual assault awareness and prevention, it is likely you already have a set, target market due to budget requirements or public policy. At the same time, you likely have a chance to reach more than just these mandated individuals. Your immediate considerations will be the reach of your campaign within your installation, how far you can spread information, and what level of emphasis you will put on different community demographics.

An installation is comprised of one large and diverse audience. Identifying segments within the larger audience will help you more effectively target key groups and individuals. In most Sexual Assault Awareness programs, there three basic audiences you will identify:

  • Those at risk of perpetrating acts of sexual violence.
  • Those experiencing, or at risk of, acts of sexual violence.
  • Bystanders who can prevent, or are impacted by, the violence.

The next consideration with your audience is how much educational support you can provide each of these segments. Look at each of your campaign goals and figure out which goals target which group. Then, brainstorm how you will allocate educational resources to each segment. You can still achieve your overall campaign goals while reaching as many of these groups as possible but, you must be able provide education to these specific groups within your installation. This is your immediate focus. From there, additional populations can benefit from your work.

Each audience segment is going to be influenced by different information and events. Since your objectives are set in stone, these do not need to change. Instead, you should focus on the different avenues for reaching all the audiences who are a part of these objectives.

It is important to recognize what types of information will resonate with each segment. It is also important to know how much of each resource you will need to allocate to each segment and what avenues will best reach that audience. You will want to prioritize by objectives, then by resources, and move on from there.


Lastly, determine how you can extend initiatives across multiple audiences with smaller amounts of outreach.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel with your different initiatives. The most efficient way to run a campaign is to reach the maximum number of members with as few wasted resources as possible. There are both passive campaign methods (public promotional materials) and active methods to raise awareness (educational sessions) that can be tailored to multiple audiences.

By identifying your audience segments and reach at the beginning of your campaign, it empowers you to market to these members intentionally for every event leading up to and throughout the campaign.

Step 4: Construct a Schedule of Events

With the foundation in place, it’s time to plan out the specifics of your sexual assault awareness campaign. These specifics will build off of your objectives, resources, and audiences to intentionally generate various active and passive awareness campaigns.

Active events are those requiring the intentional engagement of your unit members. These events ask participants to contribute time, attention, and potentially action to the program in question. While potentially offering the biggest impact, these events need the largest investment, taking more planning on the end of your volunteers, team, and resources from the installation.

Passive events, on the other hand, demand little to no involvement. Seen through the distribution and spread of awareness materials, these events can happen within the installation and only require general awareness. It takes little effort to read promotional materials or watch a video. Passive and active events should be interspaced to get the best benefit.

When creating a monthly schedule, target activities that require active participation but also occur passively throughout the installation. Successful campaigns also focus on targeting your different audiences in a unique variety of manners. For example, if working with providing education on victim support in the installation, hosting the same informative session multiple times will engage new members of other units, who might benefit from these messages.

Intentional event planning is crucial to the success of your campaign. The basic layout of resources, audience, and objectives should address a majority of your concerns. Be careful as you estimate the amount of time different programs will take so you do not burn out your volunteers or community too early into the month. A good schedule will include an array of events as a means of providing variety. When you plan your schedule, it is okay to have overlap as well.

Above all else, events should always tie to the objectives. Each event you create should fulfill the requirement of at least one, if not multiple objectives.


Step 5: Devise An Action Plan

Once you have a schedule and have outlined each initiative in your campaign, be specific. Every event or program requires planning. Be prepared to ensure you are preventing the burnout of time or resources. With calendar in hand, set out a list for each program you are conducting and work around this list. The general basics of these can be seen in the age old adage of who, what, where, when, and why.


Includes the audience members you are hoping to reach and the volunteers, staff, team members, or experts you need to host programs.


Is the description of the event. What type of activities will be occurring during this program? What are the resources involved in the behind the scenes of the events? “What” focuses on all the logistics of resources you need to make the event a success.


Covers both where the event will take place and where you are going to market your event


Includes dates and times, but also planning and milestones leading up to the event. When will you start broadcasting the event? When will the event occur?


Ensures that your programs are accomplishing the desired goals of your campaign. In your “why”, focus on what objectives each event is set to meet and how events will meet these objectives.


You should be able to answer each of these questions about every event on your schedule to both prepare for and set up measures for what comes next.


Step 6: Find Strategic Partners


Partners make these campaigns much easier, especially when you target the right groups. The joint collaboration provides access to a greater spread. The advantage of Sexual Assault Awareness Month being a national campaign is the focus placed on this issue by entire populations around the country. You are responsible for running your own campaign, but you are not alone. Leverage national attention to help create strong partnerships and invest in the greater success of not only your campaign, but also others in the area.


Any time you meet with a potential partner, ask what they need as well. Partnerships should be mutually beneficial. The most powerful question you can ask is, “how you can we support you?” Being aware of the support you can provide to others will increase your chances of receiving mutual support. Always remember to build upon and maintain these relationships after the program ends so that they are more likely to be available in the future.


Step 7: Execute Action Plans

The main point of any campaign is the implementation of your individual and collective action plan. Throughout the campaign, your focus should be on hitting your goals, adapting as necessary to ongoing events, and measuring impact. When conducting a month long sexual assault awareness campaign, education fatigue can occur because multiple audience members are attending multiple events.


It is never bad for copious amounts of education to saturate installation populations, but be careful to not lose the ability to measure the impact of your campaign. Collect feedback after every initiative. Evaluate your audience after each event, or during the event, to ensure you gain their feedback and can measure results in an efficient manner.


Be flexible. Except for potential contracts or investments which are set in stone, it is okay to tailor or change your plans as the month evolves. If you do change or remove an event, be sure to update your members as necessary. With the proper planning and support, you should be able to adapt and measure your campaign accordingly.


Step 8: Evaluate The Campaign


The importance of having ongoing metrics occurring throughout your campaign is guaranteeing the ease of measurement after your awareness campaign. Metrics should be set during the objectives phase and feedback collected during the event planning and implementation portions of the campaign. This combination should make evaluation an easier process. It is important when considering the campaign to measure it both individually with each event, but also as a whole across the entire campaign.


Event measurements can occur by looking at the feedback of each and every event. These individual measures allow you to determine the most efficient and successful initiatives.

Measurement as a whole is complicated, requiring you to pay attention to a combination of the event metrics, but also further metrics not necessarily delivered by individual evaluations. To gauge the success of your entire campaign, consider alternative methods to feedback collection.

The two main methods we recommend include soliciting additional surveys and conducting focus groups.

In soliciting additional feedback through surveys, you will want to create an entirely separate process for review of the entire campaign. Again, target all audiences. Categorize attendees based on which events they attended and the type of activities they were exposed to during the campaign. Additionally, survey the general community even if they did not attend events. Part of your evaluation process will be deciding who you want to hit and how to best do this.

Aside from formal surveys, it can be important to conduct more in-depth focus groups or in-person interviews. Instead of only soliciting written responses to standardized questions, interpersonal interviews can allow for further probing and more detailed feedback.


Step 9: Continue Ongoing Awareness

Sexual Assault Awareness campaigns should never only happen for one month, but must be an ongoing part of social development in the military. Although you are going to spend significant time preparing for this month before April, the build up to your campaign can also be utilized to prepare for long-term, ongoing operations.

One of the best ways to carry out your campaign throughout the year is to continue to replicate events or initiatives, making them ongoing parts of your program. Another alternative is to focus on new ways of engaging people, keeping careful track of their information, and maintaining an ongoing list of who might be willing to volunteer or expresses interest in your service. The best awareness campaigns extend beyond April and well into the year, carrying out a mix of ongoing events and new methods growth.

There are also additional campaigns you can adopt throughout the year. Some of the best we’ve seen in other plans include:

Additional resources on sexual assault awareness and prevention can be found at:

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