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Community Attitudes Toward Violence

Data Description & Source

Helpmate, with the Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Prevention Task Force, is working on finalizing a validated scale and method to collect this data for Buncombe County. Baseline survey will be completed by early spring 2017; plans are to repeat survey every six months.

In 2008, a community attitudes survey was conducted, but it focused specifically on sexual assault, so those results, though instructive, will not be directly comparable to current efforts. It was the sense of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Task Force that acceptance of violence in our community has been rising in recent years, predicting at least 80% of residents would find verbal/emotional violence acceptable and 25-30% would find physical violence acceptable.

Story Behind the Curve

Buncombe County is ahead of the curve in many ways when it comes to preventing domestic, sexual and child violence. Strong community assets include socially active (and social media-active), vocal citizens willing to speak up about injustice and many local, socially responsible businesses willing to support and amplify grass-roots efforts. Also, the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Collaborative has been active for over five years raising awareness about the effects of childhood trauma, including exposure to domestic violence, across the county. The "downstream" infrastructure is strong now too, with the new Family Justice Center and Mountain Child Advocacy Center increasing cross-sector cooperation to support survivors and effectively prosecute and/or treat perpetrators.

In addition to those cultural assets and infrastructure, we have several programs already addressing domestic, sexual and child violence. Our VOICE provides educational programming around safe relationships and consent in local middle schools, high schools and colleges. Helpmate provides quarterly trainings about domestic violence for local professionals and others who may need to respond to DV incidents or disclosures. Also, the two local school systems are using Positive Behavior Intervention Strategies (PBIS) and are training teachers to use Community Resilience Model (CRM) skills with students to model and teach self-regulation. Buncombe County's Compassionate Schools is also working to create more trauma-informed school environments, and UNC-Asheville is hoping to build on the success of a recent Youth Summit around violence in middle school.

Unfortunately, in Buncombe as in the nation, there is a lot of work to be done, specifically around the cultural acceptance of violence and the prevalence of fear. Pervasive violence in the media and the availability of free pornography online means people are desensitized to violence, and social media "invisibility" means exposure to violent speech is a new normal, especially in this 2016 election season. However, many people still feel, "It won't happen to me. Only xyz kinds of people are victims of violence," which makes it hard to broaden the conversation. And institutional biases in, and mistrust of, the criminal justice system exacerbates many problems. In the South, we are also working against pervasive "it worked for me and I turned out fine" and "my family is my business" attitudes. In addition, local bystanders have not had the tools to intervene to stop impending violence.

Action Plan

At the Prevention Task Force's meetings on October 21 and November 18, the following action items arose around the domain of CHILDREN/YOUTH EDUCATION (action items for other identified areas still in formation. This section will be updated as plan develops. Click here for printable PDF.

Action Who When Notes
Strategy I: Strengthen engagement & relationship with both public school systems (including leadership)
1A: Invite Title IX Coordinators, School Nurse/health rep’s, & administration to join PTF (or alternatively for individual conversations) Katie & Christy
1B: Develop MOUs/formal agreements with schools for regularly scheduled SV/DV education -start with schools already engaged -work with them to develop MOU/vision - invite new schools into fold Katie & Christy
Strategy 2: Area SV/DV/Relationships/Parenting educators engage and plan as ONE SERVICE SYSTEM
2A: Identify and convene local educators (from Our Voice, Helpmate, MCAC, Triple P)& map out who is providing which services/ curricula where Kimberly
2B: Identify venues where education can be expanded (A’ville Parks & Rec, afterschool programs, scouting, summer programs, residential programs, YM&YW)
Strategy 3: Engage potential funders as partners
3A: Talk with funders (United Way, Community Foundation, Buncombe County, ___) about importance of saturation in community
3B: Work with funders to require grantees to receive some kind of DV/SV training
Strategy 4: Create a speakers’ bureau of SV/DV champions spanning sectors to provide short talks/education within their spheres of influence
4A: Identify existing champions willing to provide education in community Matt (and successor)
4B: Develop a standard presentation/toolkit for volunteer speakers to use
4C: Decide where requests for presentation will be directed
Strategy 5: Engage other youth-focused health/empowerment program coordinators to help them provide SV/DV education & awareness in those programs
5A: Reach out to local programs (GOTR, MDTMT, MSTMT, etc.) to learn what, if any, messages are currently being communicated and what kinds of resources would help them incorporate SV/DV education into program Allison???
5B: Develop simple tools/talking points for program leaders, teachers, and others who would
Strategy 6: Hold Men Can Stop Rape Event
6A: Convene planning group (funding secured) Keisha???
What Works To Do Better

The CDC recently published a document called, Preventing Multiple Forms of Violence: A Strategic Vision for Connecting the Dots, which argues that domestic, sexual and child violence all have similar roots and similar consequences, so we should be strategic in addressing them ALL, focusing on the following:

  1. Childhood and adolescence to achieve long-term impact (through age 20)
  2. Populations and communities at high risk for experiencing or perpetrating violence (people under 24 years old, women and girls, people with disabilities, and people living with inequities related to socioeconomic status, race and gender)
  3. Shared risk and protective factors that are most important for reducing multiple forms of violence (youth's problem-solving & impulse control, family conflict, social connections, intense help for survivors)
  4. Facilitate the identification, implementation, and scale-up of approaches that have cross-cutting impact (programs that improve parent-child relationships, early childhood education, universal school-based programs that emphasize social-emotional learning, bystander approaches, and therapeutic interventions for survivors).

In addition to the above, we know safe, affordable childcare (including second-shift care) keeps children safe; increasing access to mental health and substance abuse services can help adults who have experienced trauma from passing it down; and encouraging community conversations about violence is fundamental. We know community policing, bystander interventions, multi-session interventions (deep instead of broad), recreation, afterschool programs, youth involvement and bringing outside presenters into schools for hard topics work. We know engaging existing groups (faith, schools & afterschool, workplaces, etc.) and intervening across the Socio-Ecological Model works.

Below are some evidence-based programs currently in our community:

Incredible Years: This is a 14-week program for parents of children ages 2-5 to strengthen parenting competencies and foster parents’ involvement in children’s school experiences in order to promote children’s academic, social and emotional competencies and reduce conduct problems.

Triple P (Positive Parenting Program): Triple P offers different levels (from 90-minute seminars to 8-session classes) for parents to build skills and confidence dealing with a wide range of child behaviors, reducing family stress and strengthening relationships.

Nurse Family Partnership: This is an intensive home-visiting program that lasts from pregnancy through the child's second year.

Shifting Boundaries: A two-part intervention designed to reduce dating violence and sexual harassment among middle school youth, the program includes a mapping exercise where students map out unsafe areas in their school.

Safe Dates: This is a school-based prevention program for middle and high school students designed to stop or prevent the initiation of dating violence victimization and perpetration.

Below are some programs that have seen success in other communities:

Bringing in the Bystander: While still involving programming that trains groups of individuals, this model takes next steps toward a broader community approach to prevention, defining a bystander's role as interrupting potentially violent situations, speaking out against negative social norms, and skills training.

Green Dot: A bystander program that teaches students how to identify situations that could lead to an act of violence (represented on incident maps by a red dot) and shows them how to intervene safely and effectively (turning that crisis moment into a "green dot").

Scorecard Result Program Indicator Performance Measure Action Actual Value Target Value Tag S R I P PM A m/d/yy m/d/yyyy