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Prevention Happens Everywhere! Building Strong Partnerships

Prevention story

White text overlays a magenta and gold gradient background, reading: "Alejandra Aguilar, The Partnership.". A quote reads: “As we work with folks who don’t live and breathe  domestic violence prevention on a daily basis, it’s important that we take a step back and define what we mean.” A photo of Alejandra is positioned to the left of this quote.

Author’s Information:

  • Alejandra Aguilar, Statewide Prevention Specialist
  • California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, Statewide
  • 916-444-7163, ext. 107

Jenya Cassidy is the California Work & Family Coalition (the Coalition) Director. The Coalition supports policies that help California workers preserve their jobs and fulfill their caregiving responsibilities, including: increased accessibility, affordability & adequacy of paid leave through policy expansion and implementation, increased breastfeeding support, and increased access to affordable quality childcare, among other areas. Jenya had reached out to me on Monday, asking if I’d by any chance be free for coffee on Wednesday, as she’d be attending a paid leave hearing that morning at the Capitol. We’d been talking about wanting to catch up while she was in town as in-person meetings help both of us catch up on the project and each other’s work.

In collaboration with the California Work & Family Coalition, the Partnership is focused on a project looking at increasing awareness of and access to paid leave, especially among low wage workers and immigrants. Now, if you had told me three years ago that I would be working on a paid leave project, I would not have believed it! – Why paid leave?! I do prevention!

Well… Paid Leave IS Prevention! (I will share more)

Back to the coffee date: Jenya, had just finished participating in the paid leave hearing that morning, along with Dr. Donna Benton, Director at USC’s Family Caregiver Support Center/LA Caregiver Resource Center. (In 2009, I had met Donna as I was facilitating workshops on the impact of stress on relationships while caregiving.) We all decided to order lunch and catch up. Well, we got talking about our work and next thing you know, in walks Jennifer Greppi from Parent Voices of California-Fresno. (I had met Jennifer in April, when Jenya and I co-facilitated a workshop on paid leave in Frenso). We invite her to join us and next thing you know, we are all talking about paid leave and the stress that comes from financial insecurity.

Jennifer shared about parents who were caring for their children, trying to find access to affordable childcare, navigating the paid leave process. Donna shared about how those same parents might also be caring for an adult parent, navigating the caregiving AND paid leave process! And I shared that we all know the impact that stress has on our relationships! When communities face high rates of unemployment and don’t have access to supportive economic policies, their risk of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and child maltreatment increases.

Told ya! Paid leave IS Prevention!

Four people pose for a selfie in Sacramento.So there you had the California Work & Family Coalition, the Partnership, the LA Caregiver Resource Center, and Parent Voices of California all recognizing the impact of financial stress on relationships and the need for intersectional work that helps lift up each other’s work! So we agreed to work together, to help highlight stories reflecting the need for comprehensive paid leave policies that were supportive of the diverse needs of individuals and their families.

Then a very important question was asked: So when you say prevention, what do you mean?

As we work with folks who don’t live and breathe domestic violence prevention on a daily basis, it’s important that we take a step back and define what we mean. In this case, we are all looking at different types of prevention: elder abuse, children, relationships, harassment at work, etc. – However, they are all related. This is intersectional prevention and together, in collaboration with our partners, we are engaging in programmatic and policy efforts that help lift up the structural and systemic factors that contribute to violence, while positioning DV prevention along with other movements. Because at the end of the day: Together we really are stronger!