Thanks for School and College Organization for Prevention Educators (SCOPE) for sharing great ideas about prevention in their series of Thought Pieces on challenges and lessons learned. The third question they explore is What are the cutting-edge prevention best practices that you would recommend?
I especially like this point from Jane Stapleton from University of New Hampshire’s Prevention Innovations:
Our work has demonstrated that prevention is strengthened by a multi-dimensional application. Thus, prevention strategies that are one-time events are less effective than strategies that include a comprehensive approach to prevention, in-person prevention programs and passive social marketing campaigns.
To me the best practice is not really cutting-edge but is about being intentional and well planned. I do not see prevention programs as solutions-in-a-box where one size fits all. Instead, the best way is to carefully assess what you community needs and, more importantly, assess what are the strengths of your community that you can leverage to prevent sexual violence and domestic violence.I prefer to build prevention on a catalog of assets then a litany of deficits.
Here are a few examples. Mentors in Violence Prevention recognizes that athletes have influence so they work with them. In Men Can Stop Rape’s work in the Department of Defense, they appeal to service members sense of duty to prevent violence. Jerry Tello’s collection of curriculum for the Latino Community build upon the wisdom and resources from within the community.
And be creative. I do not see prevention as merely a curriculum. Prevention requires shifting social norms that will foster new behaviors. We need to take advantage of opportunities and new technologies to build that change. Later today I will be talking to the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence about how they are using the book and movie of Hunger Games to prevent teen dating violence. Check out PreventConnect for this podcast soon and see the great work they did using the Twilight movies and books.)