In the spring of 2016, End Abuse Wisconsin commissioned the Center for Family Policy and Practice (CFFPP) to facilitate listening sessions about the use of state resources to support domestic abuse and sexual assault prevention across the state of Wisconsin. In these sessions, domestic violence, sexual assault advocates and experts and culturally specific program providers offered insights and specific recommendations about prevention programming and services to encourage and support healthy, vibrant relationships as well as violence free communities.
The report highlights the four common themes that emerged from the sessions. Participants said, prevention resources and service should work to:
- Change societal perceptions about the use of power and control in interpersonal all relationships
- Provide education and training around healthy relationships and conflict resolutions skills
- Provide that education and training for all students throughout their time in school, and beginning at an early age for students
- Incorporate a two-generational strategy that engages and supports parents and caregivers
During the sessions, an essential question arose of how the state should allocate its prevention resources, to whom should be given priority for programming and whether or not the approach should focus on the interpersonal (vulnerable communities) or structural (systems that create and perpetuate violence). In answering the question, participants agreed that the “work must happen in both and all segments of the population” This same ideology is articulated throughout the report and discussed via the following categories:
- Healthy Relationship Training in Schools with Parents
- State Campaign
- Community Outreach
- Funding and Support for Agencies
- Community Context
With regard to community context, in every session participants highlighted the intersections of race, gender, class and power dynamics that must be addressed in prevention efforts. They suggested that public policy should address interpersonal violence and sexual assault, not only in the context of this intersectionality but also regarding the disparate impacts of race, gender and class on low-income and marginalized communities.
Upon completion of the report, End Abuse submitted the document for consideration to the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families in hopes that it will inform their work going forward. We include this document here to highlight those in the various communities across the state whose input suggests that even in the least diverse communities; advocates recognize the need for this analysis.