Legislation We Follow

Rape Prevention Education Grants

Rape Prevention & Education Program (RPE)
Funding authorized: $50 million
FY 14 Appropriation: $38 million
FY 15 Request: $45 million and $5.6 million from PHS for evaluation ($50.6 million total)

RPE formula grants, administered by the CDC Injury Center, provide essential funding to states and territories to support rape prevention and education programs conducted by rape crisis centers, state sexual assault coalitions, and other public and private nonprofit entities.

Based on 2012 CDC data of RPE funded programs:

• 110,996professionals were trained in sexual violence issues

• Over 1.5 million young people participated in rape prevention programs including:
o 469,525 elementary school students
o 523,133 middle school students
o 545,845 high school students
o 176,360 college students

• RPE funded hotlines in 16 states including responses to 178,974 calls.

Those who have been victimized by sexual violence are more likely to be re-victimized AND those who have perpetrated are more likely to reoffend, pointing to the increased need of stopping the violence before it ever happens.

The RPE program prepares everyday people to become heroes, getting involved in the fight against sexual violence and creating safer communities by:


• Engaging boys and men as partners;

• Supporting multidisciplinary research collaborations;

• Fostering cross-cultural approaches to prevention; and

• Promoting healthy, non-violent social norms, attitudes, beliefs, policies, and practices.

RPE is working. Building on the success of the innovative Green Dot bystander intervention campaign on campuses, Kentucky RPE programs are expanding into high schools. In an evaluation done on over 7,900 undergraduates, students trained in Green Dot had lower rape myth acceptance scores and engaged in significantly more bystander behaviors such as speaking up when they see a friend who is being hit on who looks scared or finding a trusted adult who can support in intervening when they witness acts of violence.

Across the country, states and communities are engaged in cutting-edge prevention projects:

• North Carolina programs are helping youth mobilize to interrupt bullying and creating programming to prevent perpetration against people with developmental disabilities.

• Texas rape crisis centers design and implement community-specific prevention initiatives that reach tens of thousands of Texans every year while also building the capacity of allied professionals to infuse prevention principles into their work.

• Programs in Maine address prevention of sexual violence by implementing a social marketing campaign, geared toward students, using real language to highlight harmful gender stereotypes and help students identify actions they can take to change their world.

• In Idaho, programs use comprehensive prevention strategies that proactively engage youth and build their leadership skills.

• RPE funded programs in New Jersey are implementing bystander intervention and media literary strategies while investing in evaluating of each strategy.

Why increase funding for RPE?

The societal costs of sexual violence are incredibly high including medical and mental health care, law enforcement response, and lost productivity. Annual victim costs for rape are estimated at $127 billion making rape the most costly of all crimes.

According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey:

• Nearly 1 in 5 women have been the victim of rape or attempted rape and nearly 1 in 2 women have experienced some form of sexual violence.

• Most female victims of completed rape (79.6%) experienced their first rape before the age of 25; 42.2% experienced their first completed rape before the age of 18 years.

• More than one-quarter of male victims of completed rape (27.8%) experienced their first rape when they were 10 years of age or younger.

High profile cases like those at Pennsylvania State University and in Steubenville, Ohio have increased the need for comprehensive community responses to sexual violence but have also increased the demand for prevention programs beyond providers’ capacity.

A 2013 survey by the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence of rape crisis centers found that more than 3 out of 4 programs surveyed had to reduce the number of hours they spent providing prevention services due to cuts from sequestration and other sources.

Additionally, VAWA 2013 changed the formula for RPE ensuring that small states have a base of $150,000 but meaning large states are experiencing a significant cut in FY 14. Finally, CDC is altering the contract period for RPE this year meaning reduced funding stretched over a longer period of time.

A Colorado program reported:“Our agency lost nearly a third of our sexual assault prevention education funding, which was allocated to programs providing weekly education to middle school students.”

A California program reported: “Our prevention funds have been almost cut in half in a few short years. We are located in a large semi-urban area and there is a huge demand for prevention services.”

Evaluating RPE

It is vitally important to continue to strengthen the evidence base for sexual violence prevention. The RPE program was created to develop culturally relevant community-based sexual assault prevention strategies in communities across the nation. RPE funding must remain in communities while new funds are invested for evaluation. NAESV supports the President’s approach in the FY 15 budget of supporting RPE evaluation through a requested $5.6 million investment of Public Health Services (PHS) evaluation funds.

If our children are to face a future free from sexual violence, RPE must be fully funded.

Contact Terri Poore, Policy Consultant at (850) 228-3428 or terri@endsexualviolence.org.
For a full list of references, visit: www.endsexualviolence.org/brochurecitations