Sexual Violence Prevention

Sexual violence is any sexual act that is perpetrated against someone's will including attempted or completed rape, unwanted touching, threatened sexual violence, exhibitionism, voyeurism, and verbal sexual harassment.

Sexual violence is a public health issue. One in four girls and one in seven boys will experience sexual violence before age 18. Teens in Georgia are more likely to experience teen dating violence than in any other state in the U.S.  Georgia has the tenth highest rate of lethal domestic violence. 

Sexual violence has lifelong health consequences for the survivor and communities, and increases an individual’s risk of chronic disease.  Adult survivors of sexual violence often suffer from depression, PTSD, anxiety, eating disorders, self-harming behavior and other ongoing psychological problems. Long-term effects of sexual violence have been linked to auto-immune diseases like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Lupus, Crohn’s Disease, IBS, and fibromyalgia.

HB 228

HB 228, effective July 1, 2019,  changes the minimum age for marriage from 16 to 17 in the State of Georgia; prevents forced or coerced marriages with children; amends articles relating to emancipation; requires premarital education with a licensed professional counselor, marriage and family therapist, or social worker; and informs about risks related to underage marriage (e.g. abuse, high divorce rates, poverty, etc.). The fact sheet below is provided for premarital education providers. The Department of Public Health shall make the fact sheet available in electronic form, including, but not limited to, a version that can be legibly printed in a poster size of up to 24 by 36 inches.

HB 228 Marriage Legal Rights                                          HB 228 Marriage Legal Rightsv2

Prevention Programs

Sexual violence is preventable.  The Georgia Department of Public Health works with communities to inform them of the prevalence of sexual violence, prevent sexual violence through norm change, and protect youth through positive youth development approaches. Twenty-three percent of reported cases of child sexual abuse are perpetrated by individuals under the age of 18.

Programs being implemented in Georgia include— Safe Dates; One in Four; Coaching Boys into Men; and, Step Up. Step In. DPH will implement these four interventions by partnering with middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities, parks and recreation, and athletic teams.

Safe Dates

Safe Dates is the first community intervention implemented by the Sexual Violence Program. As one of only two evidence-based curricula designed to address violence in teen dating relationships, Safe Dates is critical to the well-being of Georgia’s youth. Sadly, Georgia has the distinction of being ranked in the top five for teen dating violence. Through its partnership with Rape Crisis Centers, DPH has implemented Safe Dates in high schools, Housing Authorities, and after school programs.

For more information:

Step. Up. Step In.

Step. Up. Step In. (SUSI) is an awareness campaign developed by DPH and its state coalition partner, the Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault (GNESA). SUSI is designed to conduct activities that raise awareness and improve school climate, reduce the incidents of sexual bullying and of first-time perpetrations of sexual violence in Georgia. Through our partnership with eight (8) Georgia health districts, we will implement SUSI in approximately 20 middle schools and high schools.

For more information:

Coaching Boys Into Men

Coaching Boys Into Men (CBIM) is a nation-wide program building on the coach/athlete relationship to teach respect for women and girls. CBIM utilizes teachable moments and structured lessons to encourage and empower athletes to become not only aware of how they contribute to stereotypes, but also how to hold each other accountable.

For more information:

1 in 4 Men’s Program

1 in 4 is designed to address an all-male college audience about sexual assault, bystander intervention, and how to be a friend to someone who has been victimized by sexual violence. Partners will be providing training to athletics, fraternities, and in dorms.

For more information:\


To carry out these programs, the Department of Public Health is working with partners across the state. These partners include—

  • Rape Crisis Centers
  • Youth Development Centers
  • Parks and recreation/Athletic programs
  • Colleges/Universities
  • Middle and High schools

Survivor and Community Resources

National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC)

Prevent Connect

Prevention Institute

Violence Against Women Electronic Network