Beyond the Breakthrough: Partnerships in Prevention

The theme of the 2019 National Sexual Assault Conference—Beyond the Breakthrough—sought to inspire the collective movement to end sexual violence and build on the momentum of the #MeToo movement. Ms. was the media sponsor for the conference—and expanded the discussions happening on-site with this dedicated series. Click here to read more posts. You can also watch interviews and conference sessions from #NSAC2019 on the Ms. Facebook!

RALIANCE joins several of our impact grantees at this year’s 2019 National Sexual Assault Conference (NSAC) in Philadelphia, PA. We are encouraged and inspired by the progress our grantees have accomplished, and we look forward to NSAC where attendees will be able to learn about this progress, prevention strategies, and lessons learned.

RALIANCE firmly believes sport is part of the solution to ending sexual violence in one generation—and so does the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault, who helped a network of 30,000 soccer coaches across the U.S. better understand sexual violence and prevention and have access to solutions for their teams during 2018-2019. 

Since 2015, RALIANCE has supported 62 projects to advance prevention solutions, driving over $2.7 million in funding to communities across the country. Learn more about MOCSA’s project and all the ways prevention can look in different communities via our searchable online RALIANCE Impact Grant Portal

We sat down with Melanie Austin, MOCSA’s Director of Education, to chat about her workshop with folks from United Soccer Coaches about the success of their partnership and sexual violence prevention tools and trainings for soccer coaches nationwide. 

Why are community partnerships so important to preventing sexual violence?

Strong community partnerships are a vital component in preventing sexual violence. Working collaboratively can increase program impact and generate innovation in prevention projects; additionally, community partners can leverage resources when working together to create a greater impact.

MOCSA does not have an online learning platform, but was able to create an online course for coaches with United Soccer Coaches who provide online education to their coaches across the U.S. Finally, community partnerships allow for reaching an audience with important prevention programming that may have not been reached in the past. 

Tell us about the Coaches’ Toolkit and resources available to soccer teams.

MOCSA developed a Coaches’ Toolkit in partnership with United Soccer Coaches called Preventing Sexual Violence: The Facts. The toolkit provides basic information on sexual violence along with information around prevention skills including noticing inappropriate behavior, interrupting that behavior, supporting the person being hurt and reporting suspected abuse.

An additional resource for coaches is an online course available on United Soccer Coaches website. This free course was developed to educate coaches on how they can prevent and respond to sexual abuse and assault. Through this course, coaches learn how to notice signs of sexual abuse, learn how to interrupt situations that cross boundaries and practice strategies for supporting people that have experienced sexual abuse and assault. 

Is this replicable for other sports and communities? 

Replicating or scaling this project is possible and can be replicated with other sports organizations, clubs, or other membership groups. I can offer some key recommendations, too. 

Make sure to have a memorandum of agreement in place before starting your partnership with clear goals and objectives. This will give your project stability should staff transition occur at either organization. 

If possible, compensate all partners in your agreement for their time and effort on the project. 

Have a main point of contact at each organization that has authority to make higher-level decisions for the agency. This will help to keep the project on track and running efficiently.  

Create an adaptable timeline for project completion, with time to make adjustments as needed. Make time for regular check-ins as well. 

Finally, be open to feedback and adapt the project as needed.  


Julie Patrick is the National Partners Liaison for RALIANCE and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Her work focuses on changing the conversation about sexual violence through efforts with the news media as well as advocates, allies and survivors. Prior to RALIANCE, Julie served for over a decade as the Senior Special Projects Coordinator with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Alexandria, VA and managed the National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse & Exploitation.