Prevent and Empower: A Program of Women Helping Women

Empowering a community to end gender based violence through comprehensive prevention. 

The Problem

The issue of gender-based violence, or violence such as sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking affects people of all gender identities, races, and economic classes. Current research from the CDC states that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men experienced sexual violence involving physical contact during their lifetimes. Nearly 1 in 4 adult women and approximately 1 in 7 adult men report having experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. Many people begin experiencing this violence before they are adults. One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence. (

These numbers show that gender-based violence is a health epidemic. Too many people are being hurt, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We know that this violence is preventable. There are proven ways to reduce this violence by engaging individuals, creating safer communities, and ensuring societal changes.

The Solution

Women Helping Women’s Prevent and Empower program uses a public health framework to approach the issues around gender based violence. Prevent and Empower uses all levels of the Spectrum of Prevention—from building up individual skills in high school and college-aged students to providing model policies to local bars as a part of our It’s On Us Bar Training initiative. Our educators reach over 4,400 high school and junior high students each year, providing them with a multi-session, comprehensive classroom-based program that addresses red flags of abusive behavior, power and oppression, consent, and bystander intervention. Prevent and Empower staff are also Master Trainers in the Coaching Boys into Men curriculum and are currently piloting this program in two school districts. Prevent and Empower also includes a comprehensive bar training package to local establishments that trains all staff, provides collateral materials, and provides technical assistance around bar policies. Prevent and Empower staff also work to empower local youth to be change agents through our youth-led prevention leadership program, Youth Prevention Team. In 2017, Prevent and Empower was recognized for its progressive prevention by the statewide sexual assault coalition. All of our programs are evidence-based and evaluated. Our evaluations guide our programming and indicate that our prevention methods are successful. For example, 34% more high school and junior high school students were confident in their skills towards bystander intervention at the end of our 2017-2018 grant year.

Planned Use Of Funds

This funding will allow us to ensure that we can continue the important work that is happening in Cincinnati. This money can help us cover the cost of implementing a Coaching Boys into Men training at multiple schools, or implement our full 10-day classroom program, or cover the cost of training several bars. Unfortunately, there isn’t as much funding for Prevention work. There is a lot of relatively stable funding for the great intervention work that is happening across the country, but funders aren’t as available for stopping these harmful behaviors before they start. This funding would be an important part of ensuring our great work can continue.

Stage of Development

  • Early Stage
  • Established Prototype
  • Scaling
  • Other

Organization to Receive Funds

Founded in 1973, Women Helping Women (WHW) prevents gender-based violence and empowers all survivors. WHW provides evidence-based prevention and expert crisis intervention and support services for survivors of dating violence, sexual violence, domestic violence and stalking in Hamilton and Butler, Ohio Counties (including sexual violence crisis services to Brown and Adams Counties). WHW operates from a public health framework that is survivor centric and promotes diversity and inclusion as core operating values. WHW meets the needs of our region and serves over 15,000 clients annually.

This project was nominated by: