What is intimate partner violence prevention?
Preventing intimate partner violence (IPV) means stopping violence before it happens.
The goal is to create and sustain thriving, healthy relationships and communities where the threat of IPV doesn’t exist. Prevention efforts seek to promote and reinforce factors associated with healthy, respectful relationships (like positive communication, empathy-building, family and community connectedness) and counteract those factors associated with initial perpetration (like childhood maltreatment, insufficient resource access, unhealthy attitudes and beliefs). This means cultivating communities and an over-arching culture, of safety, equality, and respect. In this way, prevention is intergenerational social change work – designed to change social norms and individual behaviors contributing to the existence of violence. And in order for the work to be most effective, it needs to start early, be comprehensive, and be widely supported.
Because IPV is such a complex problem, the solutions must also be complex – requiring community-specific strategies to promote health and wellness across the lifespan. Luckily, the field of public health offers us concrete tools and frameworks for understanding how to effectively engage in the work and organize change on a large scale. Here’s an example.