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National Prison Rape Elimination Commission logo


For The Prevention, Detection, Response, and Monitoring of
Sexual Abuse in:




The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) has developed a number of Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) training resources. The Commission directs all agency and agency heads to NIC’s Web site ( to learn more about existing resources and opportunities for training. However an agency decides to deliver training, the Commission strongly recommends that the following topics be included for employee training. Some may also be appropriate for volunteer training.

Following the list of topics, the Commission has made some procedural recommendations for ensuring that agency and agency heads deliver the most effective sexual abuse and PREA training to employees and volunteers.

I. Recommended training topics

A. General education and awareness topics

1. An overview of PREA.

2. A description of the inalienable right of all detainees to be free from sexual abuse.

3. The role of law enforcement officials to protect and enforce the human right to be free from sexual abuse.

4. Definitions and examples of prohibited and/or illegal behaviors and language that are considered sexual abuse.

5. Examples of conduct, circumstances, and “red flags” that may be precursors to sexual abuse or which suggest sexual abuse is occurring.

6. The agency’s anti-retaliation policy.

7. Common reactions by victims of sexual abuse.

8. The agency’s liability for sexual abuse of persons in custody (criminal, civil, and administrative).

9. The agency’s policy regarding detainees who knowingly make false allegations of staff-on-
detainee sexual abuse or staff-on-detainee sexual harassment.

10. Professional boundary setting, including issues related to personal associations with detainees, consent, and imbalances of power.

11. Strategies for promoting effective prevention and intervention of staff-on-detainee sexual abuse and staff-on-detainee sexual harassment.

12. Strategies for removing a victim or witness of sexual abuse from any public or semipublic area without arousing the suspicion of other detainees or staff members.

13. Strategies for protecting the safety of vulnerable populations, including but not limited to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and gender-nonconforming detainees (including transgender and intersex); deaf, speech impaired, or visually impaired detainees; developmentally disabled detainees; detainees with limited English proficiency; mentally ill detainees; detainees with past histories of sexual abuse; detainees with personality disorders; and young detainees.

B. Sexual abuse reporting duties

1. Staff members’ duty to report sexual abuse and their liability if they fail to report.

2. The process staff members should use to report sexual abuse.

3. The process that detainees should use to report sexual abuse.

4. Agency head duty to report to a designated State or local services agency any allegations involving a victim under the age of 18 under mandatory child abuse reporting laws.

C. Medical and mental health care

1. Rules governing forensic medical exams.

2. Protocol for transporting victims to community medical providers for emergency medical care and forensic medical exams, if appropriate.

D. Investigations and discipline

1. The investigative process for allegations of sexual abuse, including the importance of preserving evidence.

2. The legal sanctions for detainees who engage in detainee-on-detainee sexual abuse.

3. The legal and disciplinary sanctions for staff who engage in actual or attempted staff-on-
detainee sexual abuse or staff-on-detainee sexual harassment.

4. Victims’ rights based on relevant State or Federal law.

5. The rights of a staff member who is the subject of an investigation based on relevant Federal or State law or, if applicable, under collective bargaining agreements.

II. Recommended procedures for delivering training

A. General guidance

1. Train new staff members before they have contact with detainees.

2. Prohibit staff members from working with detainees until they can demonstrate knowledge of the agency’s sexual abuse policies and procedures.

3. Ensure that employees, volunteers, detainees, attorneys, contractors, and inmate workers have access to copies of the agency’s sexual abuse policies.

4. Use multiple mechanisms for presenting the information, including lectures, dialogues, role-play/scenario-based training, and other interactive techniques.

5. Ensure training materials are up to date by reviewing them at least annually and making revisions, if necessary, to address changes in laws, policies, or protocols.

6. Provide refresher training to staff following any changes to law or policy.

7. Provide annual continuing education on sexual abuse that includes a review of the agency’s sexual abuse data from the previous year.

B. Testing and evaluation

1. Test staff members following training.

2. Ask staff to provide feedback on training, including suggestions for improving training tools and materials.

3. Evaluate staff members who conduct training at least annually to ensure that they are qualified and able to provide training effectively.