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.
In an emergency, call 911
Go to the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault website to find the sexual assault agency nearest you for assistance.
National Sexual Assault Helpline, Call 1-800-656-4673, Available 24 hours every day
Office of Women's Health, Call the OWH Helpline: 1-800-994-9662
The National Dating Abuse Hotline, Call 866-331-9474 or 866-331-8453 (TDD).
How to help a friend who is being abused - Office on Women’s Health
- National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733 (BEFREE) to get help or connect with local services
Important Guidance Related to Sexual Violence Prevention
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 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. 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 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. 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:
Complaints on Title IX
Additional Title IX Resources
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
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.
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 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.
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:
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
- Safe Place to Learn Resource Package – National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments
- The Safe Place to Learn resource package provides a range of materials to support school efforts to prevent and eliminate peer-to-peer sexual harassment and sexual violence. It is designed to help establish and maintain a safe, supportive learning environment and mitigate factors that interfere with learning.
- Wisconsin Department of Human Services Sexual Violence Prevention
- AAUW Research Report - Crossing the Line: Research on sexual harassment in K-12 schools. The report reveals some sobering statistics about the prevalence of sexual harassment and the negative impact it has on students’ education. It concludes with concrete recommendations and promising practices for preventing sexual harassment directed at school administrators, educators, parents, students, and community members.
- The American Association of University Women (AAUW) AAUW Sexual Harassment Resources
- Child Welfare Information Gateway - School-Based Prevention Programs
- Colorado Department of Education Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Resources
- Sexual Abuse of Children With Disabilities: A National Snapshot from the Vera Institute of Justice, Center on Victimization and Safety: Provides an overview on the incidence and prevalence of sexual abuse of children with disabilities and discusses the dynamics of that abuse.
- STOP SV: A Technical Package to Prevent Sexual Violence
- WCASA Prevention Resources
- Oklahoma Department of Education Youth Violence Prevention Resources
- Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention - Child Abuse Prevention Webpages
- USDOE Frequently Asked Questions about Sexual Harassment
- Safe Place to Learn Resource Package – National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments
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.
- SafeBAE, Title IX - Quick summary of student rights in a catchy video that can be used with youth or adults.
- ACLU Gender Equity in Education
- FAQ on Know Your IX, ACLU fact sheet, women’s rights project
- National Center on Safe and Supportive Learning Environments Safe Place to Learn Training Materials and Handouts
- Title IX.Info
- National Women’s Law Center Title IX Resources
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
- What Is Child Abuse and Neglect? Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms, Child Welfare Information Gateway
- Preventing Child Sexual Abuse (Tip Sheet for Parents), from the Department of Health and Human Services
- Sexual Abuse Safe-Child Standards in Massachusetts. Outlined are a series of six standards to help organizations reduce the risk of sexual abuse and ensure a safe environment.
- Darkness to Light - Stewards of Children Training
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
- Protect Yourself Rules - A child abuse and maltreatment prevention and awareness program funded by the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center Foundation
- Some examples include Committee for Children Child Protection Unit, Kids in the Know, Our While Lives, Childhelp, MBF Child Safety Matters, Kidsmartz.
- WCASA - 10 Core Concepts for Child Sexual Assault Prevention
- Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board
- WI Department of Children and Families Child Abuse Information
- Child Welfare Information Gateway: Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
- Child Welfare Information Gateway: Sexual Abuse Prevention Programs (Tools, curricula, and programs designed to raise awareness and reduce risk factors related to child abuse from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
- The National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse & Exploitation - The Six Pillars of Prevention is a guiding document that outlines six critical components to the prevention of abuse.
- Vermont Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force Sexual Violence Prevention: Technical Assistance Resource Guide
- Oregon Department of Education Vision and Definition Document - A school community that is actively engaged in preventing child sexual abuse through the implementation of effective, culturally responsive and trauma-informed prevention programming
- Oregon School Staff Tip Sheet for delivery of protective behaviors curriculum
- The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children offers a wide range of outstanding materials for children, teenagers, and parents to prepare them to navigate a world that can be exploitative to children. Visit www.ncmec.org.
PCAR SH 1-12 Curriculum. This is the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape Sexual Harassment Prevention in Schools Curriculum for Grades 1-12.
- How My Third-Graders and I Address Consent – Article by Elizabeth Kleinrock, elementary educator, in Teaching Tolerance
Human Growth and Development
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.
- Resources and Education for Adults
- Dating Matters - free online course from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This offers a FREE online course targeted to middle and high school teachers on teen violence prevention, including a capacity assessment and planning tool, an interactive guide on informing policy, case scenarios, information on evidence-based programs, as well as a number of other resources.
- School and District Policies to Increase Student Safety and Improve School Climate: Promoting Healthy Relationships and Preventing Teen Dating Violence by Futures Without Violence
- Addressing Self/Peer Exploitation Guides from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection
- GSAFE Healthy Social and Emotional Climate Training - contact GSAFE for more information
- Florida Department of Education Model Policy Against Teen Dating Violence or Abuse
- New York State Teen Dating Abuse Awareness and Prevention Resources
- Love is Respect - A project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, love is respect offers 24/7 information, support, and advocacy to young people between the ages of 13 and 26 who have questions or concerns about their romantic relationships. We also provide support to concerned friends and family members, teachers, counselors, and other service providers through the same free and confidential services via phone, text, and live chat.
- Start Strong focuses on preventing teen dating violence and abuse by teaching middle school-age youth about healthy relationships. They provide 4 elements necessary for strong teen dating violence prevention in middle school.
- Preventing, Assessing, and Intervening in Teenage Dating Abuse - A Training for Specialized Instructional Support Personnel
- Dating Violence Resources for parents, teens, schools, and community – National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments
- Materials and Lessons for Use with Youth
- End Abuse Wisconsin Annual Teen Summit- The annual Teen Summit is End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin's largest training. They bring in youth, parents, educators, activists, and mentors from all over Wisconsin to learn about healthy relationships, teen dating violence, and sexual assault within a larger anti-oppression framework.See video highlights of the conference here: https://vimeo.com/328568823/61ae178cc2
- Safe Dates - Safe Dates is an evidence-based curriculum that prevents dating abuse
- Expect Respect - The Expect Respect Program is a comprehensive, school-based program designed to promote safe and healthy teen relationships.
- Dare 2 Know Wisconsin - Teen Dating Violence Prevention
- That’s Not Cool.com - Resources, manuals, and webinars to learn and teach about teen dating violence and healthy relationships (free sign in to access resources)
- Discovery Dating - At its core, this curriculum is really about self-discovery, informed decision-making, healing and building healthy relationships.
- Teach Consent:
- Teach Power and Control Dynamics
- Love is Respect – Nonprofit with many resources on teaching consent, healthy relationships, and teen dating violence.
- Resources and Education for Adults
Addressing Online Risks
- Safety online- sexting, negative social media, meeting up with individuals met online
- Healthy Relationships in the Digital Age, Teen Dating Violence - Futures Without Violence
Sex Trafficking Prevention
It is important for all educators to increase our knowledge about human trafficking, to learn to spot the signs of trafficking, and to take action in supporting students. Human trafficking occurs throughout Wisconsin, including rural, urban, and suburban areas. Trafficking can happen to anyone of all sexes, genders, races, and economic backgrounds; though some individuals are in a higher risk group. Wisconsin educators can help prevent and respond to trafficking by learning more about the topic, in addition to implementing such best practices as trauma sensitive schools, social and emotional learning, cultural responsive practices, resilience building, fostering relationships, and encouraging a welcoming inclusive environment for all students. The following are a few resources to help you get started. Keep in mind that suspicions of child sex trafficking must be reported to CPS or law enforcement by mandated reporters including all school staff. For additional information on reporting sex trafficking and using the Exploitation Indictor and Response Guide, please review the DPI Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect Online Learning Modules found here
- DPI/DCF Youth Lessons (Grades 7-12)- Building Knowledge and Skills to Raise Awareness and Respond to Human Sex Trafficking
- Guide for Facilitation of Youth Lessons - DPI and DCF have collaborated to create a guide for facilitating lessons to youth geared towards grades 7-12. The lessons included in this unit provide an adult facilitator information and lesson plans to accompany a short documentary video series and instruct students in the topic of human trafficking with a focus on sex trafficking. Included are short videos with individuals in Wisconsin who have shared their true stories for the purpose of education and prevention. This guide provides information to help you successfully deliver this unit of instruction.
- Free Training - To access the guide and facilitator materials, school staff and community partners participate in a free training offered through the Wisconsin Safe and Healthy Schools (WISH) Center. The training is geared towards pupil service staff, community providers of sexual assault prevention and response, and other school staff who have some training and experience handling difficult topics, handling student disclosures, and the ability to assess risk and safety concerns. School staff and professionals in the community are encouraged to attend training together to collaborate on lesson delivery for students. Participants will be able to lead lessons for students grades 7-12 to help them understand what human trafficking is, some of the dynamics involved, and to recognize warning signs and unsafe situations, how to get help, and where to find additional resources. View the training dates and registration for 21-22. If you are unable to attend a training, yet would like access to the lessons, please contact email@example.com.
- Anti-Human Trafficking 101: Anti-Human Trafficking Intro for School Staff, Julie Incitti, WI DPI School Social Work Consultant, Asia Jackson, DCF Anti-human Trafficking Coordinator, and Corrie Warning, School Social Worker in MPS
- WI Department of Children and Families, WI We Need to Talk Campaign
- It Happens Here Documentary for Community Education and additional resources for Professionals – WI DCF
- A documentary that tells the true stories of sex trafficking in Wisconsin. The content of this video may evoke strong emotions and is intended to be used in a professional or educational setting with proper curriculum and support. To assist in this, the department has developed a Facilitator Guide and other resources.
- Resource list by Wisconsin regions for supporting youth who have been trafficked – WI DOJ
Human Trafficking 101 for School Administrators and Staff - U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Education
Human Trafficking of Children in the United States: A Fact Sheet for Schools, U.S. Department of Education
Sex Trafficking of Minors: What Schools Need to Know to Recognize and Respond to the Trafficking of Students, National Center for Homeless Education
Human Trafficking in America’s Schools Guide (2021) National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments
- Human Trafficking: Online Safety (June 2020) National Center on Safe and Supportive Learning Environments
- SOAR Online Learning Module for School-Based Professionals - US Department of Health and Human Services
Mandated Reporter Training:
Reporting Child Sex Trafficking Using the Indicator and Response Guide Online Module - This module is to assist school employees in understanding their obligations as mandated reporters to report child sex trafficking. The module focuses on how to utilize the Wisconsin Child Sex Trafficking and Exploitation Indicator and Response Guide and is not meant to be a comprehensive training on understanding and responding to child sex trafficking. Additional training for staff is essential.
Indicator and Response Guide to Making a Report of Suspected Sex Trafficking
Guía de Respuestas e Indicadores de Trata y Explotación Sexual de Wisconsin [Indicator and Response Guide to Making a Report of Suspected Sex Trafficking (Spanish Version)]
DPI Online Learning Modules - Mandated Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect
- National Human Trafficking Resource Center including student toolkit
- WI Department of Justice - Human Trafficking Resources
- National Human Trafficking Hotline
- Innocence Sold: Three short films about sex trafficking VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED. Content is not suitable for all ages, recommended 12+ years. This video is intended for training purposes. It features subject matter and content that brings awareness to the reality of human sex-trafficking.
- National Center for Missing and Exploited Children - Red Flags of Sex Trafficking
- Human Trafficking Tip Sheet - the Department of Health and Human Services
- Polaris Project Website- Including myths and facts about trafficking, as well as annual statistics based on calls, text messages, webforms, emails and webchats with the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline.
- Polaris Project On-Ramps, Intersections, and Exit Routes: A Roadmap for Systems and Industries to Prevent and Disrupt Human Trafficking
- Tahirih Justice Center Child Marriage in the United States: A Serious Problem With a Simple First-Step Solution
- Child Sex Trafficking: Experiences of Youth Who Have Been Trafficked Fact Sheet – The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
- Child Sex Trafficking: What You Might Not Know - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
- Child Sex Trafficking: Who is Vulnerable to Being Trafficked? - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
- Responding to Disclosures of Trafficking Tip Sheet - Love 146
- Human Trafficking Webinar Series: Effective Engagement of Individuals with Lived Experience Recorded Webinar – National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments
- Addressing the Growing Problem of Domestic Sex Trafficking of Minors through PBIS – Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports
- Addressing Human Trafficking in America’s Schools – Staff Development Series (Online Learning) – National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments
- DPI/DCF Youth Lessons (Grades 7-12)- Building Knowledge and Skills to Raise Awareness and Respond to Human Sex Trafficking
Physical School Safety
- Precautions including understanding where there are places in the school where there are no adult eyes
- Consider after-school activities and safety plans (example: Safe Sport Zone)
- Crisis response plans that include sexual violence
Build Protective Factors
- Social and emotional learning including SEL competencies (DPI)
- Trauma-sensitive schools
- Mental health supports in schools including school mental health framework
- Youth resilience
- Increase belonging (examples include: Welcoming Schools, Culturally Responsive Practices
- Create and maintain inclusive and welcoming environments
- Strong out-of-school time programming
- Protective Factors in Practice Vignettes from the Department of Health and Human Services
- CDC Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Resources
- Increase adult-youth healthy relationships
Strong Pupil Non-Discrimination Program and Response
Mandated Reporting Training
- DPI Learning Module and Supplemental Resources on Mandated Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect
- Adults understand when and how to report child sexual activity, unwanted sexual activity, sexual violence
- Understanding the School's Role in Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network - When a Child Alleges Sexual Abuse by an Educator or other School Staff: An Educators’ Guide to Appropriate Response and Support
- 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
- Inclusion of parent and community groups, posters in the school with helplines and hotlines
- Student-led campaigns (example: NY State Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention)
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.
- Resources for Survivors of Violence, Disasters, and Other Traumatic Experiences - National Sexual Violence Resource Center
- Serving Teen Survivors: A Manual for Advocates - National Sexual Violence Resource Center
- How to assist students who return as offenders
- 6 steps to support a survivor from the Joyful Heart Foundation
- Everyday Magic: 16 Ways Adults Can Support Children Exposed to Violence and Trauma
- Helping Your Child Heal From Trauma Tip Sheet - Department of Health and Human Services
- Resources on Sexual Abuse, including What Parents Need to Know about Sexual Abuse, Self-care strategies for after an event, how to support teens after a disclosure of sexual assault, Educator Sexual Misconduct in Schools, and more. – National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)
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.