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Indiana State Department of Health

Office of Women's Health > Sexual Violence Primary Prevention Program Sexual Violence Primary Prevention Program

The CDC’s Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) Program

Rape, and other forms of sexual violence, is preventable. Recognizing this, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act in 1994. This landmark legislation established the Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) program at CDC. The goal of the RPE program is to strengthen sexual violence prevention efforts at the local, state, and national level.  It operates in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and six U.S. territories.

Guiding Principles of the RPE Program

Primary prevention is the cornerstone of the RPE program. Program activities are guided by a set of prevention principles that include:

  • Preventing first-time perpetration and victimization;
  • Reducing modifiable risk factors while enhancing protective factors associated with sexual violence perpetration and victimization;
  • Using the best available evidence when planning, implementing, and evaluating prevention programs;
  • Incorporating behavior and social change theories into prevention programs;
  • Using population-based surveillance to inform program decisions and monitor trends; and
  • Evaluating prevention efforts and using the results to improve future program plans (CDC, 2013).

Indiana's Rape Prevention and Education Program

Indiana’s RPE Program is administered through the Office of Women’s Health (OWH) at the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH). OWH recognized the significant effect that sexual assault has had on the overall health of women in the state.   Since 2008, OWH has administered the federally funded Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) program to help reduce and eliminate the incidence of sexual violence across the state.

ISDH approaches sexual violence from a public health perspective, recognizing that primary prevention, including efforts to change cultural norms, behaviors, and practices is essential to create a state free from violence.  Public health is concerned with community and population-based approaches rather than those focused on the individual, and uses data-informed, evidence-based approaches. All sexual violence primary prevention program planning and implementation is rooted in a four-step practice in the public health approach (CDC, 2013).

  • Define the problem – define the problem using data
  • Identify risk and protective factors – identify what causes violence, who is at risk, and what protective factors could prevent sexual violence
  • Develop and test prevention strategies – design and evaluate interventions
  • Ensure widespread adoption - create programs that utilize evidence-based strategies to address  sexual violence

Indiana’s Commitment to Primary Prevention:  A State free of Sexual Violence – 2010-2015

Indiana has developed its first comprehensive plan to address sexual violence across the state, entitled Indiana’s Commitment to Primary Prevention: A state free of sexual violence 2010-2015. Click on the links below to read the different documents that make up the plan. For more information, please contact Terri Lee, Violence Prevention Program Director, at (317) 233-7056 or email at

List of Appendices

RPE-funded Program Information in Indiana

Click here to learn about sexual violence primary prevention programs in Indiana.