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New Momentum for Promoting Safe Relationships through Supportive, Equitable Community Environments in California

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To foster safe relationships in communities, it’s necessary to create norms of gender equity and engagement in family matters, strong community responses to domestic violence, and housing and economic stability, among other factors. Our own Michell Franklin and Miranda Stiers participated in an August 2017 gathering to build relationships and understanding across communities, sectors, and movements, also discussing a new Prevention Institute report that draws the connection between community environments and health and safety in our intimate relationships. Addressing the drivers of inequities, such as unequal access to power and resources, is necessary to ensure that everyone has greater opportunities for access to the community conditions that support safe relationships, regardless of race, class, age, gender, sexual orientation, and other factors.

Jacquie Marroquin from the Partnership was interviewed for the report, and is quoted as stating: “It’s important to look at the factors in communities that contribute to DV holistically. Different organizations can prioritize what makes sense to focus on, and collectively, coalitions can have a broad, coordinated impact.”

With support from Blue Shield of California Foundation, Prevention Institute’s Sectors Acting for Equity (SAFE) project is growing a community of practice in California to promote community resilience and prevent intimate partner violence (IPV) at the local and state levels. With a commitment to health equity, communities are engaging residents and building partnerships across sectors and social movements to promote community environments that support safe relationships. Developed as part of the SAFE project, the new report acknowledges and builds on domestic violence prevention work taking place throughout the state and country. It also offers updated research, analysis, and next steps to systematically address this complex problem, including inequities in rates of domestic violence. The report recognizes that the DV movement is critical to shaping the future of violence prevention in California. In particular, the DV field can act as a bridge-builder between prevention and intervention while engaging multiple sectors (e.g. housing, schools, and healthcare) in holistic ways. The report also identifies opportunities to shape community-level factors for 12 other sectors, including housing, community development, public health, and healthcare. It offers a method for multiple sectors to identify joint strengths, strategies, and outcomes to increase their effectiveness and impact.

By naming the factors that can create the conditions for safety and by honoring existing assets, this approach emphasizes strengths and resilience. Applying principles of health equity, the framework shows that community-level prevention and community-level intervention can be mutually supportive. In this way, California can address the needs of domestic violence survivors who are most marginalized and the communities to which they belong, in a manner that supports both healing from and prevention of domestic violence.

To read the report, learn about the approach, and get involved in the work moving forward in California, please visit the Sectors Acting for Equity (SAFE) project web page or contact safe@preventioninstitute.org.

The August 2017 gathering included partners from 4 California communities along with state partner organizations. It was held at Prevention Institute, in Oakland, California as part of the Sectors Acting for Equity (SAFE) project with generous support from the Blue Shield of California Foundation.

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