The YWCA’s prevention services seek to provide individuals and the community with evidenced based approaches to preventing domestic abuse and sexual assault. This is accomplished through providing youth with curriculum that empowers them to make informed decisions about their lives, relationships, and communities; engaging with community systems that have the power to create change; hosting community awareness events and initiatives; and working to examine and promote policies that aim to prevent violence before it occurs.

For more information on Prevention and Empowerment Services, call (616) 459-4681.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and each year the YWCA honors survivors by bringing awareness to the issue. Click here to view the 2018 Sexual Assault Awareness Month Newsletter.

Healthy Relationships Initiative

Classroom-based education for middle and high school students (all genders).

The YWCA West Central Michigan facilitates a 10-session Healthy Relationships curriculum to middle and high school students in Kent County schools. This research-based curriculum is inclusive of all students’ experiences, backgrounds, and level of ability. Students will learn the basics of healthy relationships, problem-solving skills surrounding relationship (intimate or friendship) conflicts, recognize their responsibilities as upstanders, and learn how to advocate for violence-free relationships. Students participating in these sessions will walk away having built an important foundation for healthy relationships throughout their lives.

Social norms campaigns that promote respect, safety, and equality.

Societal norms have a large influence over the development of individuals’ attitudes, beliefs, and interactions with the world. Unfortunately, our culture encourages many harmful social norms that contribute to the perpetration of sexual violence. One way to affect change is to promote healthy social norms that create safe environments for all. The YWCA is available to assist schools in developing climates of respect, safety, and accountability.

Educational opportunities for parents, professionals, and the community.

It’s never too late to begin preventing sexual violence. Whether in the classroom, at work, or at home, adults play a critical role in youth’s development of attitudes and values surrounding sexuality and relationships. The YWCA provides education to those interested in learning about the root causes of sexual violence and how individuals in the community can affect positive, lasting change.

Support for organizational policy review initiatives that create safe, equitable environments for everyone.

What types of sexual violence policies exist within your workplace? Schools? Church? The answer to this question goes a long way when thinking about preventing sexual violence. Policies about education, workplace harassment, and consequences of sexual violence send messages about what kind of behavior is appropriate and not appropriate.

Intellectual and developmental disability services aimed at preventing sexual abuse of individuals with I/DD through education for youth, their parents/guardians, and I/DD serving systems.

Recognizing that certain populations are sometimes at greater risk for violence and assault, the YWCA provides programming specific to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Working both within the classroom, with parents, and with educators, the YWCA strives to create safe and inclusive environments for the I/DD community.

Sexual Assault Prevention Action Team (SAPAT)

SAPAT is a coalition dedicated to the elimination of sexual violence in Kent County. Composed of a multidisciplinary team of professionals and community members, SAPAT brings education, awareness, and energy to the primary prevention of sexual violence. If you are interested in becoming involved with SAPAT, please visit for more information.

Call Prevention and Empowerment Services at 616-459-4681 or email