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Resources to Reduce and Respond to Sexual Violence in Schools

Sexual Violence

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) defines sexual violence as a verbal and/or physical act that breaks a person's trust and safety and is sexual in nature. Behaviors range from sexual harassment to unwanted fondling to forced penetration. All are done without consent. 

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Important Guidance Related to Sexual Violence Prevention

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Sex-Based Harassment

Definition - The United States Department of Education outlines that Title IX protects students, employees, applicants for admission and employment, and other persons from all forms of sex discrimination, including discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity. All students (as well as other persons) at recipient institutions are protected by Title IX—regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, part- or full-time status, disability, race, or national origin—in all aspects of a recipient’s educational programs and activities.

*New Regulations in effect August 14, 2020*

The US Department of Education has released new regulations on Title IX that went into effect on August 14th, 2020. Schools are encouraged to review the new regulations and US Department of Education Title IX Website

Complaints on Title IX

The primary enforcement body for Title IX is the US DOE’s Office of Civil Rights, and the specific office that handles Wisconsin complaints is located in Chicago.

Additional Title IX Resources

Educational Institutions’ Obligations to Transgender Students under Title IX - Human Rights Campaign Legal Department (June 2018)

The United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights Title IX and Sex Discrimination Information

National Women’s Law Center Title IX Resources

Wisconsin Pupil Non-Discrimination Program

The pupil nondiscrimination program provides technical assistance to local school districts, parents and school district residents on matters relating to nondiscrimination and equality of educational opportunity under state law and related federal laws, and the pupil discrimination complaint and appeal process under state law and rules. (Section 118.13, Wis. Stats. and PI 9, Wis. Admin. Code). The pupil nondiscrimination program also assists the State Superintendent resolve appeals of local school district decisions on pupil discrimination complaints.

Considerations for School District Policies

Considerations for School District Sexual Misconduct Policies was issued In September 2016, by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. This document considers a variety of topics to assist districts in the creation of a sexual misconduct policy.

  • DPI Publication - The Schools Role in Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect (2018)”
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Child Abuse and Neglect Publication - “The Role of Educators in Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse and Neglect (2003)”
  • Policies and Procedures Training – Prevent Child Abuse at School - Free in-person training
    • Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin has training for School districts on policies and procedures to protect youth from being sexually abused at school or participating in youth programming. This program includes a 3-hour training and ongoing technical assistance to help schools and organizations create a culture where issues of child sexual abuse and prevention efforts are discussed and addressed.

Contact Abby Kibar:

Gender-based School Violence

Gender-based violence and harassment are behaviors that are committed because of a person’s gender or sex. They can be verbal, physical, or media-based in nature; and they occur in both male-to-female and female-to-male dynamics. While it is a fact that females are most often the targets of gender-based violence or harassment, we must not discount reports coming from male targets and recognize that societal norms and/or stigma may cause female-to-male incidents to go unreported.

Examples that may constitute gender-based violence or harassment include situations where someone:

  • follows you around, always wants to know where you are and who you are with, or stalks you
  • pressures you to perform sexual acts
  • touches you sexually against your will
  • forces you to have sex
  • interferes with your birth control
  • verbally abuses you using anti-gay or sex-based insults
  • sends you repeated and unwanted texts, IMs, online messages, and/or phone calls that harass you
  • hits, punches, kicks, slaps, or chokes you
  • verbally or physically threatens you

ACLU Gender Equity in Education

FAQ on Know Your IX, ACLU fact sheet, women’s rights project

Get Trained in Prevention - Free Trainings
  • Safe Place to Learn- Free online training program.
    • From the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students, this program includes guidance for administrators, e-learning modules for school staff, a webinar discussion guide, a coordinated response team planning guide, a trauma sensitivity training module, in addition to other resources.
  • Policies and Procedures Training – Prevent Child Abuse at School - Free in-person training
    • Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin has training for School District policies and procedures to protect youth from being sexually abused at school or participating in youth programming. This program includes a 3-hour training and ongoing technical assistance to help schools and organizations create a culture where issues of child sexual abuse and prevention efforts are discussed and addressed. Contact Abby Kibar:
  • Stewards of Children Training – Teach Adults to Prevent, Recognize, and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse - Free in-person training
    • Through a grant from the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, Awareness to Action (A2A) is able to provide Stewards of Children™ trainings at no cost to area school districts. Stewards of Children™ is a 2-hour training focused on teaching adults how to prevent, recognize and respond to child sexual abuse. Contact Mary Kleman:
  • Stewards of Children Training - online for a fee


Components of a Robust Prevention Program

Connect with local Sexual Assault Service Provider (SASP)

Each community has a sexual assault service provider who can provide trainings, resources, and consultation related to the prevention and response of sexual violence and gender-based discrimination. Directory of Sexual Assault Service Providers from the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault (WCASA)

General Sexual Violence Prevention Resources
Understand and Implement Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

Understanding the rights and responsibilities of schools and students related to Title IX protections, including the role of the district Title IX coordinator and the need to respond to allegations of sexual harassment IN ADDITION to any criminal investigation. Resources are provided below, in addition to the resources and information provided higher on this webpage for your consideration only.

Adult Responsibility to Keep Kids Safe

Training for adults on their responsibility to keep kids safe, including recognizing and responding to grooming behaviors in other adults, recognizing and responding to children in unsafe situations and relationships, managing safe physical environments

Policy and Procedure Training for Preventing Child Sexual Abuse in Schools

  • Free in-person training from Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin on how to enhance policies and procedures to protect youth from being sexually abused while they are at school or participating in youth programming: contact Abby Kibar
Protective Behaviors Training and Curriculum

Use an evidence-informed curriculum at the elementary level for protective behaviors, including understanding secrets versus surprises, uncomfortable or confusing touch, how to get help, assertiveness, boundaries and limit setting

Human Growth and Development

Implement a comprehensive inclusive human growth and development curriculum that includes skill-based lessons on consent, sexual identity, and gender expression

Teen Dating Violence

Instruction for students on teen dating violence including what it is, examples of what it looks like, power and control dynamics, consent, healthy relationships, recognizing and halting destructive behaviors, boundaries and limit setting, how to get help, how to get help for a friend, how to get help for your child/student.

Addressing Online Risks
Sex Trafficking Prevention
Physical School Safety
Build Protective Factors
Strong Pupil Non-Discrimination Program and Response
Mandated Reporting Training
  • Implement the Youth Risk Behavior Survey in your school and use the data to inform needs and interventions
  • 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey Summary Report – Sexual and Dating Violence The YRBS includes some safety and victimization questions that are not restricted to the school setting. These include questions on whether a student has ever experienced rape, physical dating violence, or sexual dating violence.
  • Overall, 7.2% of students report having ever been raped. The rate for males is 5.1% and 8.9% for females.
  • More broadly, 10.2% of students report having been forced into any sexual activity: 5.0% of males and 15.0% of females. That is almost one in every seven female students.
  • 6.9% of students report having experienced physical dating violence: 4.5% of males and 8.8% of females. 9th 10th 11th 12th Percent of Females Who Have Been Raped, by Grade 6% 6.6% 10.1% 12.9%
  • There are differences by grade level. By the time females hit 12th grade, 12.9% have been raped, 19.1% have experienced any form of sexual violence, and 10.1% have experienced physical dating violence.
  • Students who have experienced rape or sexual or physical dating violence are much more likely to be anxious, depressed, and suicidal. For instance, nearly half of students who attempted suicide have experienced such violence. This is three times more than their peers.
  • Rates of sexual and dating violence are particularly high for students with physical disabilities or health issues and LGBT students. For instance, almost one in five such students has been raped (18% of students with disabilities and 17.4% of LGBT students).
Skills-Based Health Education

Health class instruction that includes discussion and skills related to sexual violence and gender-based harassment, assault, and abuse (DPI’s Health Education Resources)

Public Awareness Campaign
Male Empowerment Programs
  • Coaching Boys into Men (CBIM) program facilitates connections by providing high school athletic coaches with the resources they need to promote respectful behavior among their players and help prevent relationship abuse, harassment, and sexual assault.
  • Manhood 2.0 - is a gender-transformative curriculum developed by Promundo and the University of Pittsburgh to engage young men aged 15 to 24 in reflecting on the impacts of harmful gender norms.
  • The Real Men Program - REAL (Relationship Education and Awareness for Life) Men is the male empowerment program which has been developed for men, ages 13 to 93. REAL Men addresses the myriad of issues surrounding dating, domestic and gender violence through simple visual, physical and auditory aids to help support increased understanding, development and retention with the audience.
  • Comprehensive List of Resources from WCASA - WCASA staff have found and summarized different organizations and materials for engaging men and boys in violence prevention.
Post-incident response


The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) does not endorse any specific companies or materials, and the included resources are by no means the only materials available. This list is provided to encourage schools to consider their resources and efforts in the following areas as a way to approach reducing and responding to sexual violence in schools.

For questions about this information, contact Julie Incitti (608) 266-0963