In 2010 our 15 member programs served 1,114 survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) on a given day. Our member programs do remarkable work in crisis intervention, in advocacy, and in healing. We also wish to see a day when there is an end to violence, and our work across the state in prevention reflects this vision.
We implement community-specific and statewide ways to prevent violence, and to do this we need to be creative. KDVA prevention work is about “traveling upstream,” which means that we must address violence before it happens. We do prevention in many ways, for example using a public health model that includes primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention; and through a socio-ecological model addressing individual, relationship, community, and societal factors.
Imagine for a moment that you are standing beside a river you know well. You see a person floating down the river trying to swim, and you pull them out. You see another person in the river, and another and another. You try to save each of them from floating away, and soon you are exhausted. You decide to travel upstream and see why there are so many people floating down the river, what causes this to happen, and how you can fix the problem.
You find that there is a hole in a bridge and people are falling through the hole. You patch the hole, you educate the people about the hole and its risk factors, and soon there are no more people falling into the river.
When it comes to public health, “traveling upstream” means addressing the causes of a problem, and educating people about these causes. It means that people are empowered to avoid the problem and to educate others about the problem.
Think about how our ideas have changed about paints with lead in them, about wearing seatbelts, about smoking cigarettes. We know now, because of effective public health and prevention campaigns, that those things are not good for our population. Intimate partner violence is also a population-wide problem: it affects everyone.
Our prevention work involves participation in national projects, developing statewide strategic partnerships, continuing empowerment programming, and developing and implementing prevention goals and outcomes.