SAFV's primary prevention program uses a public health model to prevent first-time occurences of violence. (See below for more about the public health model.) Primary prevention aims to stop violence before it ever occurs by going upstream, examining the root causes of a problem, and changing the harmful conditions that perpetuate the problem. This protects a person from risk of incident before it ever happens.
There are many examples of using the public health model to create large-scale social change. These include wearing a bike helmet to prevent head inuries, getting flu vaccinations to prevent illness, and brushing your teeth to prevent tooth decay. In our case, SAFV is promoting healthy relationships and respect to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault in our community.
CONTINUUM OF PREVENTION
Primary prevention works to shift the norms that lead to and perpetuate violence. We all live within the context of community and societal norms that influence and shape our behavior and values.
If new, healthier behaviors are consistently demonstrated and encouraged in multiple areas of a person's life -- at home, at school and after-school programs, within peer groups, at sports practice, at the doctor's office, in the media, and in our agency and community settings and policies -- our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors will shift to create new social norms that support a healthier community, where violence is outside the norm.
THEORY OF CHANGE
In Sitka, we are working diligently to counteract the epidemic of domestic violence (DV) and sexual assault (SA).
Since 2005, SAFV has been a recipient of the Centers for Disease Control DELTA (Domestic Violence Prevention Enhancements and Leadership Through Alliances) funding to establish a community prevention coalition and plan, implement, and evaluate prevention programming.
Pathways to a Safer Sitka is Sitka’s primary prevention coalition comprised of 15 individuals representing a diverse cross-seciton of the community. Pathways was formed by SAFV in 2008 to develop a community-wide plan for preventing first time occurrences of domestic violence (DV) and sexual assault (SA).
After a thorough needs and resources assessment and a two-day strategic planning session, the coalition developed this vision: Community members understand and demonstrate respectful and safe relationships. To achieve our vision, several goals were created:
9 PRINCIPLES OF PREVENTION
Pathways to a Safer Sitka maintains a prevention focus by meeting quarterly for retreats that provide opportunity and space to share resources, connect with partner agencies, reflect, review and make improvements to our prevention plan as necessary.
RISK & PROTECTIVE FACTORS
Teachers, administrators, coaches, and mentors have as much influence as parents in shaping and molding our youth and play a vital role in the development of young people—both academically as well as socially and emotionally. There are many ways that schools can incorporate healthy relationship conversations and promote a culture of respect within the school environment. To learn more, go to our SCHOOLS page.
RESEARCH & EVALUATION