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Program Profile: Enhanced Access, Acknowledge, Act Sexual Assault Resistance Program (Canada)

Evidence Rating: Effective - One study Effective - One study

Date: This profile was posted on August 08, 2017

Program Summary

This is an educational, skills-based workshop for first-year female college students in Canada. The program is designed to teach young women how to assess risk, overcome barriers in acknowledging danger, and engage in self-defense to reduce the risk of sexual assault. The program is rated Effective. The program significantly reduced the risk of completed and attempted rape, nonconsensual sexual acts, and attempted coercion. However, there was no impact on the risk of attempted coercion.

Program Description

Program Goals/Target Population
The Enhanced Assess, Acknowledge, Act (EAAA) Sexual Assault Resistance program is an educational, skills-based workshop for first-year female college students in Ontario, Canada. Program participants learn how to assess risk from acquaintances, overcome emotional barriers in acknowledging danger, and engage in verbal and physical self-defense to reduce the risk of sexual assault.
 
Program Components
The EAAA program consists of four, 3-hour educational sessions. The program is provided in a university workshop setting and includes activities such as educational games, mini-lectures, facilitated discussion, and application and practice activities. This version of the program builds on the Basic Assess, Acknowledge, Act (AAA) Sexual Assault Resistance program by including a sexuality and relationship unit.
  • Unit 1 (Assess) involves improving risk-assessment skills and developing practices and problem-solving strategies to reduce perpetrator advantages.
  • Unit 2 (Acknowledge) involves improving young women’s ability to quickly acknowledge danger in coercive situations, overcome emotional barriers to resisting sexual advancement, and resist verbal coercion.
  • Unit 3 (Act) offers options for resistance to unwanted sexual advancements, including through a Wen-Do martial arts self-defense training. The unit focuses on common sexual assault situations involving acquaintances and overcoming obstacles to resistance when the attacker is physically larger than the female victim.
  • Unit 4 (Sexuality and Relationships) works to incorporate lessons from the previous units and apply them to participants’ own lives to promote safe sex practices and to increase sexual knowledge. The unit incorporates both the slang and scientific terms for a wide range of sexual activities beyond intercourse; provides a context for women to explore their sexual attitudes, values, and desires; and helps them to develop a means for healthy sexual communication.
 
Program Theory
The EAAA program is grounded in the cognitive–ecological model developed by Nurius and Norris (1996), which connects environmental and psychological factors to women’s responses to sexual assault. The program also draws on work by Ullman (1997) regarding successful rape-defense strategies.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Completed Rape
Senn and colleagues (2015) found that participants of the Enhanced Assess, Acknowledge, Act (EAAA) Sexual Assault Resistance program were significantly less likely than the control group to be at risk of a completed rape at the 1-year follow up (5.3 percent versus 9.8 percent, respectively). 
 
Attempted Rape
EAAA program participants were significantly less likely than the control group to be at risk of an attempted rape at the 1-year follow up (3.4 percent versus 9.3 percent, respectively). 
 
Nonconsensual Sexual Act
EAAA program participants were significantly less likely than the control group to be at risk of a nonconsensual sexual act at 1-year follow up (25.8 percent versus 39.1 percent, respectively).
 
Coercion
However, there were no statistically significant differences between program participants and the control group on measures of coercion at the 1-year follow up. 
 
Attempted Coercion
EAAA program participants were significantly less likely than the control group to be at risk of attempted coercion at the 1-year follow up (14.5 percent versus 22.6 percent, respectively).
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Senn and colleagues (2015) conducted a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the impact of the Enhanced Assess, Acknowledge, Act (EAAA) Sexual Assault Resistance program on sexual assault measures at the 1-year follow up among 451 female university students, from September 2011 to February 2013. The treatment group (n = 451) and control group (n = 442) consisted of first-year female college students, 17 to 24 years, at one large university and two midsized universities in Ontario, Canada. While the treatment group was enrolled in the sexual assault resistance program, the control group had access to sexual assault brochures similar to those that would be available in a campus clinic or counseling center. 
 
The average age of EAAA program participants was 18.5, and most program participants (72.1 percent) were white and identified as heterosexual (91.8 percent). The average age of control group participants was also 18.5, and most program participants (73.8 percent) were white and identified as heterosexual (91.6 percent). There were no significant differences between the groups on baseline characteristics, except for nonconsensual contact. Control group students were more likely to have experienced nonconsensual sexual contact than treatment group students. 
 
The primary outcome, completed rape, was measured via the Sexual Experiences Survey-Short Form Victimization (SES-SFV) at the 1-year follow up. Other outcomes, also measured using the SES-SFV, included attempted rape, nonconsensual sexual acts, coercion, and attempted coercion. The outcome data was examined using a modified intention-to-treat population (which included participants who completed post-randomization surveys). Kaplan–Meier failure curves (indicating the cumulative percentage of completed rapes among women in the respective groups) and log-rank tests were used to compare the incidence of completed rape between the EAAA treatment group and control group. The other outcomes were examined using discrete-time survival analyses, which used a complementary log–log regression model.
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Cost

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The entire cost of implementing the Enhanced Assess, Acknowledge, Act (EAAA) Sexual Assault Resistance program for 1 year is estimated at $37,660 and is dependent on facilitator salaries and transportation costs for training. The EAAA Train the Trainer workshop educates campus/community trainers on recruiting and training EAAA facilitators and costs $3,000. Workshop attendees receive 6 days of in-person training; licensing for 3 years; three, 3-hour Webinars monthly; 1 year of technical support; the EAAA Campus Trainer Manual; three sets of facilitator manuals; and all other necessary materials for implementing the program. More information on the cost breakdown for this program is available at http://sarecentre.org/
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Implementation Information

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Information on becoming an Enhanced Assess, Acknowledge, Act (EAAA) Sexual Assault Resistance Program Facilitator is available at following Web site: http://sarecentre.org/
 
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Senn, Charlene Y., Misha Eliasziw, Paula C. Barata, Wilfreda E. Thurston, Ian R. Newby-Clark, H. Lorraine Radtke, and Karen L. Hobden. 2015. “Efficacy of a Sexual Assault Resistance Program for University Women.” The New England Journal of Medicine 372(24):2326–35.

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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Nurius, Paula S., and Jeanette Norris. 1996. “A Cognitive Ecological Model of Women’s Response to Male Sexual Coercion in Dating.” Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality 8(1-2):117–39.


Rozee, Patricia D., and Mary P. Koss. 2002. “Rape: A Century of Resistance.” Psychology of Women Quarterly 25:295–311. 


Senn, Charlene Y. 2013. “Education on Resistance to Acquaintance Sexual Assault: Preliminary Promise of a New Program for Young Women in High School and University.” Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science 45(1):24–33.


Senn, Charlene Y., Stephanie S. Gee, and Jennifer Thanke. 2011. “Emancipatory Sexuality Education and Sexual Assault Resistance: Does the Former Enhance the Latter?” Psychology of Women Quarterly 35(1):72–91.


Ullman, Sarah E. 1997. “Review and Critique of Empirical Studies of Rape Avoidance.” Criminal Justice and Behavior 24:177–204.

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Program Snapshot

Age: 17 - 24

Gender: Female

Race/Ethnicity: White, Other

Geography: Suburban

Setting (Delivery): Campus

Program Type: Gender-Specific Programming, Victim Programs, Violence Prevention

Targeted Population: Females

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: Model Programs Guide, Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development (formerly Blueprints for Violence Prevention)