Rape and sexual forms of violence against women are often the least visible and reported. While the underlying causes of sexual violence are multiple and complex, among the core causes are unequal gender norms and power dynamics between men and women. It is increasingly argued that men’s use of violence is a learned behaviour, rooted in the ways that boys and men are socialised.
The objective of this systematic review of randomised and quasi-experimental data was to investigate the effectiveness of interventions for preventing boys’ and young men’s use of sexual violence. Interventions in the review focused on targeting individual and group attitudes and behaviours, although the importance of targeting communities and systems is highlighted. Participants included boys and young men aged 12-19 years from low, middle and high income settings, with 85% of studies being from high income country contexts.
Overall, the studies in the review provide evidence of effectiveness of interventions to improve young men’s attitudes towards rape, violence against women, and rigid gender stereotypes. Evidence of effectiveness related to behaviour change is less straightforward, an important area to strengthen in future evaluation designs.