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Trauma Violence Abuse. 2016 Jan;17(1):26-42. doi: 10.1177/1524838014557291. Epub 2014 Nov 16.

Exploring Alcohol Policy Approaches to Prevent Sexual Violence Perpetration.

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  • 1Division of Violence Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA
  • 2Division of Violence Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.


Sexual violence continues to be a significant public health problem worldwide with serious consequences for individuals and communities. The implementation of prevention strategies that address risk and protective factors for sexual violence at the community level are important components of a comprehensive approach, but few such strategies have been identified or evaluated. The current review explores one potential opportunity for preventing sexual violence perpetration at the community level: alcohol policy. Alcohol policy has the potential to impact sexual violence perpetration through the direct effects of excessive alcohol consumption on behavior or through the impact of alcohol and alcohol outlets on social organization within communities. Policies affecting alcohol pricing, sale time, outlet density, drinking environment, marketing, and college environment are reviewed to identify existing evidence of impact on rates of sexual violence or related outcomes, including risk factors and related health behaviors. Several policy areas with initial evidence of an association with sexual violence outcomes were identified, including policies affecting alcohol pricing, alcohol outlet density, barroom management, sexist content in alcohol marketing, and policies banning alcohol on campus and in substance-free dorms. We identify other policy areas with evidence of an impact on related outcomes and risk factors that may also hold potential as a preventative approach for sexual violence perpetration. Evidence from the current review suggests that alcohol policy may represent one promising avenue for the prevention of sexual violence perpetration at the community level, but additional research is needed to directly examine effects on sexual violence outcomes.

© The Author(s) 2014.


alcohol; policy; prevention; rape; regulation; sexual violence

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