Implications of public health for policy on sexual violence

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003 Jun;989:446-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2003.tb07325.x.


In the last ten years, researchers and practitioners have written about why sexual violence in particular should be viewed as a public health issue, and the importance of prevention of sexual violence. However, little has been written about how to accomplish this. In this paper I describe steps that could be taken using the public health approach to better achieve prevention of sexual violence. Most research and prevention related to sexual violence have focused on the individual and relationship levels. I discuss the importance of addressing all levels using an ecological approach (macrosystem, exosystem, microsystem, and personal history) and focusing more on prevention that addresses the societal and social roots of sexual violence. The paper concludes with some examples of potential preventive measures and policies consistent with a public health model.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Public Health*
  • Public Policy*
  • Sex Offenses / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Sex Offenses / prevention & control*
  • Social Environment
  • United States
  • Violence*