FVPF eJournal
Futures Without Violence eJournal
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Pushing the Prevention Envelope

The Fifth National Conference on Health and Domestic Violence closed with a plenary session on prevention.  The moderator, Dr. James Mercy with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, announced that the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Surveillance System (NISVSS) will begin collecting data with a random-digit-dial telephone survey in fall, 2009.  The NISVSS will provide national- and state-level data that will help to inform prevention efforts.

Dr. Carmen Rita Nevarez, Vice President at the Public Health Institute, guided the audience on a prevention journey that started in rural South Africa where a community-based microfinance project addresses AIDS prevention and gender-equity issues.  The results are a three-way win; economic status has improved while HIV transmission and intimate partner violence have decreased.  The next stop was a multi-faceted initiative in Chicago that applies a public health approach to violence prevention.  Client outreach, clergy involvement, community mobilization and an educational campaign are some of the strategies that are helping to change social norms, reduce risk factors, and prevent violence.

Andrew Levak, a founding member of MenEngage and leading expert on prevention efforts that involve boys and men, noted a global trend that is focusing more attention on the socialization of males and helping communities to recognize how gender role socialization can put men and their partners at risk for intimate partner violence.  He described major progress that is being made in other countries where gender transformative interventions are exploring gender roles, seeking to redefine rigid gender norms, and promoting equitable relationships.  Using an ecological model to influence social change, the gender transformative approach makes the connection between sexism and other forms of oppression.  Evaluation results for these initiatives are promising.

Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell, Professor and Associate Dean at Johns Hopkins, closed the session by mapping out the progress that has been made in the field and how far research is advancing.  She related the decrease in U.S. homicide rates for intimate partner violence to the increase in services over the past two decades.  Her vision for the future includes a new frontier in family violence research that is illustrated by the collaborative work of colleagues such as Dr. Janice Humphreys, who is looking at the long-term impact of childhood exposure to violence on genetics.