What is prevention? Prevention is exactly as it sounds – stopping something (in this case, domestic violence) before it has the opportunity to occur.
While the concept of prevention seems relatively simple, the implementation of prevention is complex and challenging.
Violence is a behavior learned from parents, caregivers, schools, friends, communities, media, local, state, and national policies–all reflect how people treat others. In order to prevent these learned behaviors from occurring in relationships, violent behaviors need to essentially be unlearned and replaced with healthier behaviors, or even better, youth can start with healthy, non-violent behaviors.
To understand this, PCADV follows the THRIVE (Toolkit for Health and Resilience in Vulnerable Environments) Model, developed by the Prevention Institute. The THRIVE Model is research-based and looks at community-level risk factors for domestic violence and how they intersect. The THRIVE Model also takes into account the impact of oppressions, as well as community violence and trauma. The model illustrates how these larger environmental factors shape our local communities and, therefore, individual people.
“At a fundamental level, inequity in health outcomes can be understood as a disparity in power. Groups with less power tend to suffer worse health outcomes.”Kimberlé Crenshaw
In the real-world, prevention can, and should, look different in every neighborhood, community, county, state, etc. One of the greatest assets of prevention work is that it is customized to the unique needs of each community. In Pennsylvania, there are several local domestic violence organizations implementing school climate change, coaches and athlete programs, summer social justice camps, community readiness assessments, and neighborhood food gardens.
Essentially, work that happens primarily at the community and societal levels and that seeks to create sustainable and equitable safety, happiness, and health within a given community – is prevention.
Focus Initiatives for Prevention
Men & Boys
Men and boys have historically not been involved in conversations about domestic violence. And while most abusers are men, not all men are abusers. Adding voices to this discussion gives it credence and lessens the unequal power dynamic between men and women.
Change the Conversation about Domestic Violence
Parents are perhaps the greatest influence over the next generation. Parents teach behaviors from how to speak, act, and dress to how to function in relationships.
See How Parents Can Advocate for Prevention
Many people identify as being a member of a particular faith community, regardless of denomination. Faith communities, like parents, are purveyors of information to their congregations and have the ability to set an example for an entire community.
Learn About Creating Safe Faith Communities
Colleges & Universities
Colleges and universities provide environments where young adults are living as adults and making decisions on their own for the first time. Unfortunately, with less supervision, more freedom, and oftentimes poor school policies – many young adults will experience domestic violence or sexual assault for the first time in college.
See What Colleges Can Do to Prevent Abuse
Athletic programs, similar to faith communities, are communities of intense team-building and bonding among team members and coaches. Coaches, similar to parents, have strong relationships with their athletes who look to their coaches as role models in all things, including how to treat others.
Learn About Prevention Programs for Young Athletes
Local communities are the smaller environments in which people live, learn, work, and play. Focusing on a communities needs and concerns is a great place to start for new prevention programming.
Understand What Makes Local Communities Unique