Center for Effective Response to Sexual Misconduct

Title IX and the Clery Act establish substantial expectations for institutions of higher education to address incidents of sexual misconduct in the campus community. According to the Campus Climate Survey Validation Study of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 21% of college women report experiencing sexual assault in college. Former President Obama and Vice President Biden established the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault in 2014This Task Force recommended that the Department of Justice develop a treatment program for students found responsible for sexual misconduct. In 2014, the DOJ awarded Fairleigh Dickinson a grant to develop this program.* 

The Principal Investigator for this project was Dr. Robert Prentky at Fairleigh Dickinson, working with co-Principal Investigator Dr. Mary Koss at the University of Arizona. Over a period of 4 years a team of 12 senior personnel developed and tested STARRSA (ScienceBased Treatment, Accountability, and Risk Reduction for Sexual Assault). 

STARRSA includes two intervention programs: a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) program and an Active Psychoeducation (AP) program. In addition, materials were developed on risk management for administrators. Manuals for these programs are available here. These manuals are available for your use free of charge. However, they are copyrighted by Fairleigh Dickinson University, and any reference to their use should cite the university, as described here. 

These two programs offer the only known federally-funded evidence-based interventions for those found responsible for sexual misconduct in higher education settingsThey provide the first defensible alternative to suspending the perpetrator. Suspension not only creates risk for the institution, it does nothing specific to reduce the risk of reoffending. It is anticipated the programs will have relevance to corporate and military settings. 

However, the STARRSA programs are complex, and we do not recommend implementation without specialty training of your risk management and intervention staff. This is where the Center for Effective Response to Sexual Misconduct (CERSM) can help. We offer 1-day and 1.5-day workshops for your risk management and frontline staff in preparation for implementing one or both of these programs. In these workshops, we cover the following topics: 

  • The fundamentals of risk management in the context of sexual misconduct. 
  • The use of an instrument called the Contributing Factors Checklist to evaluate which of the two programs is more likely to be appropriate for a perpetrator.  
  • Intervention using one or both of the intervention program(s). 
  • The use of an instrument called the Risk Needs Inventory to identify which modules of the CBT program are most likely to be helpful for the perpetrator. 
  • The use of an instrument called the Risk Needs Screen to identify which modules of the AP program are most likely to be helpful for the perpetrator. 
  • The use of a number of powerpoints and videos, many of which were developed specifically for STARRSA, to support the intervention modules. 

Other corporations also must deal with problems of sexual misconduct. CERSM provides trainings to any type of organization struggling with these issues. 


For information about CERSM’s servicesincluding costs, please email or call 201-692-2747. 

Grant #2014-AW-BX-K002 from the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) in the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Justice Programs. All conclusions and recommendations reflected in the resulting materials are entirely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the SMART Office or the DOJ. 

Cite the manuals as follows: 

  • Prentky, R., & Koss, M. (2018). STARRSA: Science-based Treatment, Accountability, and Risk Reduction for Sexual Assault: Cognitive behavioral treatment program (CBT) manual. Teaneck, NY: Fairleigh Dickinson University. 
  • Prentky, R., & Koss, M. (2018). STARRSA: Science-based Treatment, Accountability, and Risk Reduction for Sexual Assault: Active psychoeducation (AP) manual. Teaneck, NY: Fairleigh Dickinson University.