Measuring effectiveness of prevention trainings

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A screenshot from the online refresher training.

Every year during the fall semester, students at Laramie County Community College are required to participate in two trainings, the Not Anymore trainings. While some students may complain that the trainings are too long or too frequent, LCCC’s Title IX coordinator says the trainings can improve daily lives.

“Training is something that generally I would think helps people react better, learn better and incorporate the training into their daily lives,” said Judy Hay, vice president of Student Services and LCCC’s Title IX coordinator. “Think about training emergency service people do, the military or any other organizations that train constantly for various jobs and situations they might find themselves in.”

Statistics show that sexual violence is prevalent in society. According to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, “on average annually there are 321,500 victims ages 12 or older that are either sexually assaulted or raped.” Acta Psychopathologica reports that “men account for 9 percent of the the victims, while females comprise 91 percent of all rape and sexual-assault victims.”

Trainings like Not Anymore are required by the federal government. According to an article written by Rory Newlands and William O’Donohue in 2016 for Acta Psychopathologica, “In 2013 the United States Congress established a Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act requiring all federally funded universities to provide primary prevention for sexual-violence and awareness training to all incoming students and employees.”

The effectiveness of the trainings are another matter. A 2014 study by the journal Violence and Victims claimed that although 85 percent of campuses held some kind of training, they were ineffective because they were done during freshman orientation. The new students didn’t know a lot about the campus they were joining, so the trainings they received didn’t feel like they applied, the article said.

One common attitude at LCCC is that students are sick of retaking these trainings every year. The Not Anymore training includes multiple surveys to make sure students understand the content.

According to an AAU Campus Activities Report, “survey fatigue” can lead to lower response rates. “Students who are frequently surveyed develop survey fatigue and are less likely to respond. Lower response rates reduce the utility of the findings.”

In addition, the report also added that too much surveying may also leave institutions without enough time to measure the effects trainings and surveys have on students.

According to EverFi, a tech company that specializes in educational training, there are three best practices for keeping students engaged with surveys:, “avoid implementing the survey when students are being asked to do other surveys, avoid doing it during time crunches like midterms, finals, or when the students may be preoccupied with other things, and avoid implementing it during the beginning of a new semester or academic year.”

Not Anymore trainings are open all semester long, but students are not allowed to register for the next semester until they complete the trainings.

While the Not Anymore trainings may not be popular with some students, for others it can be beneficial for learning what to do in a potentially dangerous situation. Colleges may also offer other trainings that have been shown to prevent sexual assault, such as self-defense classes.

“Results indicated that women trained in self-defense reported less sexual victimization at the one-year follow-up, both in quantity and severity of assaults,” Acta Psychopathologica reports. “Women in the class reported not only fewer sexual assaults and rapes, but also fewer attempts.”

Another way training can be beneficial is with those who witness the assault or harassment. Hay said one interesting thing the Not Anymore training does is pose some scenarios in which bystanders can make a difference.

“If you have done the online training, you know that we encourage bystander intervention and the training proposes some specific tactics bystanders might employ,” Hay said.

Besides Not Anymore, the college has other trainings that deal with prevention of sexual violence.

“We provide some additional training on these topics to student leaders in various roles around the college, and it’s different from the other ones students do,” Hay said. “Our experience in this area has been that the training has helped people understand where and how to report various things they experience, and how to get help for themselves and others. The number of reports we got in even the first year, compared to the prior year when we didn’t do the training, was a big increase.”



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