Dr. Carrie Moylan is working with three anti-sexual violence organizations in Western New York (Crisis Services, in Buffalo, YWCA in Niagara County, and RESTORE in Rochester) to evaluate sexual violence prevention programming focused on increasing the use of community level sexual assault prevention strategies, such as coalition building, social norms change, and policy advocacy. Funding is provided by the New York State Department of Health and supports staff at all 3 locations and Dr. Moylan as an evaluator.
In the first year of this five-year grant, program staff prioritized strengthening coalitions with college campuses to build on the growing commitment to address sexual assault on college and university campuses. Staff wanted to think systematically about how to approach the many campuses in their region, to assess strengths and opportunities for coalition building, and to find a way to track and measure the outcomes of their efforts to harness momentum with campuses.
Building on their expressed need, Dr. Moylan worked with the staff to develop a tool to Assess Campus Readiness for Coalition Building. After assessing all 21 campuses in their counties, staff used the results to guide their coalition-building efforts. Their efforts have since led to formalized partnerships with campuses, the establishment of contracted services, invitations to join existing campus committees, the establishment of new campus-community groups, and partnerships with campuses to provide prevention programming to students.
Dr. Moylan also assisted with a community needs assessment of the three-county region. Staff interviewed ninety-seven community stakeholders about their understanding of risk and protective factors related to sexual violence, as well as their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities in the prevention of sexual violence. Findings revealed a rich picture of community-specific risk and protective factors, and revealed eleven different opportunities for sexual violence prevention that are being used to guide on-going prevention efforts.
Both of these activities illustrate how community-driven evaluation can generate data that guides efforts to solve pressing social problems. Dr Moylan stated, “Serving as the evaluator for this project has been an opportunity to merge my research and practice background. I love seeing how the staff have been able to use the evaluation projects to both showcase and expand their amazing work to prevent sexual violence in their local communities.”