Over the years, community-based sexual and domestic violence programs have established impressive movements dedicated to providing effective victim-centered services and raising issue awareness.
|“Violence can be prevented and its impact reduced, in the same way that public health efforts have prevented and reduced pregnancy-related complications, workplace injuries, infectious diseases, and illness resulting from contaminated food and water in many parts of the world. The factors that contribute to [violence]…can be changed.”
(Dahlberg & Krug, 2002)
As a result of this good work, huge strides have been made – and continue to be made – in leveraging policy, securing funding, and developing coordinated community responses to violence. However, despite what progress has been made, the demand for services continues to grow. In response to this increased need, anti-violence programs have begun, over the course of the past 15 years, to consider what has been referred to as “the best form of victim service”: Preventing violence before it ever occurs (Gariglietti, 2007).
Prevention offers a proactive means of improving responsiveness to communities, creating visions for change, and moving from meeting the immediate needs of survivors to an integrated, holistic approach that combines services and social change. Successful prevention efforts reflect a social change model that promotes a thriving culture where all relationships are built on respect, equality, and peace.
Sexual and domestic violence programs have spent the last few decades turning policy makers into activists and moving communities to action – prevention simply builds on this work, leveraging public health resources for our social change efforts.