Community Accountability in Domestic Violence

Across the board, irrespective of Religion, Race, Color, Age, Ethnicity, Country and social strata, one out of three women will experience domestic violence during their life time. The only thing that will stop Violence against women is when our communities no longer tolerate it.

Mobilizing communities to prevent Domestic Violence would need to engage communities to develop, implement and support preventive strategies that focus in individuals as well as community and society. Advocating for community accountability, the potential strategies would include educating the community, building support groups for prevention efforts and organizing community groups to challenge social norms that contribute to the use of Domestic Violence.

The community mobilization strategies in addressing the Domestic Violence dates back to the Battered Womens Movement in the 1970s when women were organized at the grass roots level to address Domestic Violence in their communities. It raised awareness to the role of patriarchal social structures that promote Domestic Violence and thus the need for social change. Moreover, the movement provided community based resources such as shelters and support groups to empower the victims of DV. During the 1990s many DV programs major focus was on providing direct services to survivors and offenders. During the past decade CDC and Family Violence Prevention Fund (PVPF) have undertaken initiatives to support and promote community engagement strategies that target violence prevention.

According to Cohen, Davis and Graffunder (2006) Prevention is a systematic process that promotes safe, healthy environments and behaviors. Prevention efforts can be at three levels: Primary (intervening before the violence occurs by removing the cause or preventing the development of risk factors), Secondary (identifying risk factors and taking necessary actions before the violence occurs) and Tertiary (treatment or rehabilitation after the violence has occurred to minimize its impact and prevent revictimization).(Chamberlain,2008)