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By on December 14, 2018

Building Connections: ASTHO’s 2018 Prevention Legislation Scan


ASTHO, the Association of State and Territory Health Officials, recently released their Sexual Violence Prevention Legislation Scan for 2018. This scan focused on two topics that are both modifiable risk factors for sexual and domestic violence: adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and housing insecurity.

Experiencing housing insecurity, an eviction, or homelessness increases risk factors and decrease protective factors for sexual violence, and we’ve previously discussed on PreventConnect the connection ACEs and sexual and intimate partner violence share, and how prevention efforts overlap and complement each other. Framing legislative efforts and successes around modifying the risk and protective factors for sexual violence instead of policies that solely focus on sexual violence prevention allows agencies, organizations, and practitioners to support and engage in multi-sector approaches to preventing different forms of violence within their communities. This type of policy approach also serves well for primary prevention by fostering communities with safe, affordable housing, improving emotional and behavioral health for children, and increasing positive parenting practices.

The array of bills introduced and/or passed in the past year also focuses on a range of disciplines. ACEs legislation sought to enact change through child welfare, education, healthcare, justice systems, and task forces. Housing stability legislation targeted on a variety of arenas, too, including construction, funding, and task forces.

Prevention is not, and should not be, contained to one industry, and sexual and domestic violence prevention happens in many ways. This legislation scan amplifies this message, builds connections between fields, and provides an example of how Washington has implemented both their ACEs and housing bills in order to prevent sexual violence. Readers can also peruse the appendix of the report, where each policy that was introduced in the 2017-2018 legislative session is listed under what topic, discipline, or approach (like child welfare, education, or construction) the bill focuses on.

Read the full report here.

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