New DELTA FOCUS Story Highlights Creating Safe Community Spaces
The influence community conditions have over health and safety are top of mind for a lot of people right now, especially as their influence has been prominent during the last 16 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. What would it mean for preventionists to examine and modify community conditions so they promote protective factors against sexual and intimate partner violence? The most recent DELTA FOCUS Story by PreventIPV explores just that.
Creating Safe Community Spaces: Lessons Learned from DELTA FOCUS highlights the innovative work of coalitions in Indiana, North Carolina, and Rhode Island to promote protective factors against intimate partner violence through three often overlooked avenues for prevention: building safe and accessible parks, addressing housing instability, and strengthening community ties and connectedness. Some of the goals explored in this story include increasing residents’ sense of safety and pride, limiting the impact of trauma due to experiencing homelessness and witnessing domestic violence, creating protective and stable environments, and building social cohesion among youth. This DELTA FOCUS story includes key lessons learned woven throughout the narrative of this work across three states. One quote from a staff member at the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence summarizes how these approaches operationalize to prevent intimate partner violence:
I think, big picture, just thinking about how the conditions in which we live our lives influence how we think about ourselves. If the place that we are in and from feels valued, how we feel valued, and how that changes motivations around the use of violence… It feels distal and strange to work on a park as a strategy for violence prevention, but it makes sense, even to people who aren’t doing this as work.”
It’s critical that stories of prevention like this one are brought to the rest of the sexual and domestic violence field because as evidence emerges of strategies to prevent violence, — like the power of creating protective environments shared in both the STOP SV and Preventing Intimate Partner Violence technical packages from the CDC — the need for examples and stories of success remains. What’s fascinating and reassuring about the examples shared in this DELTA FOCUS story is how prevention practitioners were able to expand partnerships, break down silos, and shift focus to strive to create conditions that amplify health and safety.