digging up the roots of gender-based violence

What is Primary Prevention?

Primary Prevention: An Introduction and Strategic Vision

Primary prevention is stopping something before it begins rather than reducing the harmful consequences of violence after it occurs. In medical terms it’s immunization rather than treatment of a disease.

Historically, prevention efforts have focused on changing individuals. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the traditional methods of community education cannot be sustained without also changing the environment.

*adapted from the Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Inc.

*adapted from the Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Inc.

Prevention is a systematic process, encompasses a variety of interventions through mixed methods, from multiple sources, with multiple levels of engagement, at various stages of development. Secondary and tertiary prevention, which are reactive, are important parts of the process of creating an environment that is not tolerant of gender-based violence  (GBV).

Primary prevention reduces the need for other kinds of prevention, because being proactive reduces the need to be reactive.

To address underlying causes of GBV issues like media literacy and social norms need to be part of the discussion; as well as policy considerations at the organizational level, legislation, and advocacy.

The prevention work that we do at HAVEN includes education for students and their support people (parents, faculty and staff, coaches, etc.), awareness campaigns like posters and help cards, policy review and consultation and professional training. We build a program for a school or an organization that fits their level of engagement. Our hope is to strengthen it into a comprehensive prevention strategy that changes the organization into a community that no longer accepts or tolerates gender-based violence.

Prevention Education: Comprehensive Programming and Strategic Vision

Preventing dating and sexual violence begins with raising awareness but can’t end there. It’s important to train individuals to respond appropriately and develop peer leadership to effectively change the environment into one that is intolerant of violence. At HAVEN, we are committed to offering levels of engagement so that we can strengthen school communities.

*Menu of Options

*Menu of Options

We have a multi-level menu of options to choose from. The chart increases in concentration from left to right. Our minimum level of engagement is raising awareness: putting posters with prevention messaging up in the school, having help cards available in the counselor’s office or bathrooms and using student announcements to share prevention messages.

At the next level, we would train educators and other school personnel to respond appropriately to disclosures of dating violence and sexual assault and offer resources to every student in the school through short, dynamic classroom presentations.

At the last level, which is primary prevention, we would offer our multi-session leadership development program to students and supervise them in a school-wide service learning project to raise awareness throughout the school.

There are other components that can be added in depending on the needs of a school. For example, we could offer a support group for students who have experienced dating violence or sexual assault or we could offer intervention classes for students who have perpetrated violence against their dating partners.

Any selection includes all of the program components to the left. For example, selecting the multi-session groups automatically includes training for school staff, outreach presentations, posters, announcements, etc. We will custom design prevention programming that will work best for your school.

To schedule a meeting to discuss your schools level of engagement in Oakland County Michigan contact: prevention@haven-oakland.org

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