Statement of Purpose Sexual violence (SV) is pervasive among college-age youth and persists despite mandated primary prevention activities on college campuses. There is a need to understand the environmental context in which SV occurs on college campuses and beyond. Hot Spot Mapping is an innovative strategy to inform environmental change that may be valuable in addressing campus-based SV, though limited evidence exists.
Methods/Approach Our team reviewed the available scientific and gray literature on Hot Spot Mapping and related strategies to inform environmentally-oriented SV prevention available on PubMed, Scopus, Embase, Web of Science, and Google Scholar (1990–2021). Key search terms encompassed the social and physical environment and context for SV in campus-based and community-based settings. We extracted 274 articles for full review; 57 relevant articles are included in our final review.
Results Four primary approaches emerged: spatial mapping and geographic characterization of reported incidents, hot spot mapping, safety audits, and place-based questions. Each approach offered strengths and weaknesses in their ability to clarify the social and physical geographies of unwanted sexual experiences. Evaluations were limited, as were precise recommendations for interventions to respond to identified risk zones. Results are presented in context of recommendations for future initiatives.
Conclusion Sexual violence prevention interventions rooted in altering the social and physical environment hold great promise for reducing SV, particularly on college campuses. Current approaches to clarify and improve physical and social environments for SV prevention suffer gaps in precision that may limit the value of resulting recommendations. Actionable strategies for increasing precision are discussed.
Significance This presentation offers a critical review of existing research to increase precision in the science of environmentally-oriented solutions to SV prevention, on college campuses and beyond.
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