Washington D.C. – The National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH), with support from the United States Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), unveiled today at the White House, a national blueprint to significantly reduce domestic violence by 2017. The Decade for Change Report is a culmination of four months of collective work by corporate, private and government leadership to develop bold ideas and unprecedented initiatives for preventing domestic violence in .
“Despite significant efforts over the past decade to address the problem of domestic violence in our country, 33 million American women continue to experience abuse every year,” said Sheryl Cates, NDVH chief executive officer. “As a society, we can and need to do more to stop the cycle of violence before it starts. The Decade for Change Report provides the unique opportunity to not only develop viable solutions for primary prevention, but importantly, it is the first step in creating a unified national movement to end domestic violence.”
“Collaboration is the key to changing attitudes and strengthening the resolve of individuals to end all abuse of women, youth and men,” said Mary Beth Buchanan, Acting Director of the Office on Violence Against Women. “OVW is proud to partner with the National Domestic Violence Hotline to raise awareness about teen dating violence and implement the national blueprint released today.”
More than 120 Summit panelists representing the public and private sectors, faith communities, domestic violence services, youth, state and federal officials, media, education, and medical/mental health professionals participated in a series of three Summit meetings over the course of the last year. The panelists were called on to provide experience and expertise from their respective fields with the ultimate goal of co-creating recommendations to address how various sectors/industries can participate to solve the problem of domestic violence.
“We realized that the challenge of stopping violence is not for women or advocates to solve alone,” continued Cates. “The goal of the Summit was to bring together a representation of all sectors of society to find common ground and bring a collaborative vision to address the issue of violence against women.”
Based on outcomes of the Summit, the Decade for Change Report focuses on four primary thematic areas: public awareness; education and training; organizing men as role models, and primary prevention focusing on ’s youth. The themes do not stand in isolation, but are interdependent in their approach to ending domestic violence. Among the many Report recommendations:
Theme One: Public Awareness
· Shift public opinion and attitudes as well as social norms that say it is okay to tolerate domestic violence to a national consensus that violence against women is unacceptable.
“Creating safe families and communities is something we should all strive to support. The Decade for Change effort creates a voice for those who need to be heard by working to eliminate domestic violence,” said Summit sponsor and panelist, Laysha Ward, vice president, community relations, Target.
Theme Two: Education and Training
· Professional education and training must be integrated into every system, both public and private, including school systems, health care settings; corporate , faith communities and the government.
· New and innovative models should be utilized. Work should be community driven, transformative and linked to certification and professional requirements as part of a universal prevention approach.
“Education can provide an understanding that mass public awareness does not,” said Summit sponsor, Jennifer Kuhn, program manager, The Allstate Foundation Domestic Violence Program. “Through targeted and consistent education, we can increase the individual capacity of family, friends, bystanders and neighbors to understand domestic violence and know how to respond and/or engage appropriate community and corporate resources.”
Decade for Change Report/page three
Theme Three: Outreach and Inclusion of Men
· Focus prevention efforts on men by bringing them into the work as role models and messengers to influence other men. Consider men and boys as an audience for awareness, information and services.
· Engage men by changing the language, and rather than compartmentalizing, create an understanding that all men have a role in preventing and ending domestic violence.
“We need to shape and deliver messages to all males by redefining gender roles and establishing new, positive culturally-sensitive male role models,” said Maury Lane, NDVH advisory board member and Summit panelist. “Simply put, positive male role models, who ignore the problem of domestic violence, ensure the continuation of a vicious cycle that has hurt so many women over so many years.”
Theme Four: Outreach to Youth
· Target primary prevention efforts at youth to affect developing values and opinions about domestic violence.
· Create a national youth advisory board to accommodate the rapidly changing youth culture.
“Despite girls’ empowerment programs and evolving gender roles, these efforts have not translated into healthy relationship expectations and behaviors,” said Summit panelist and sponsor, Lupita Reyes, national program director
Domestic Violence & Healthcare, Verizon Foundation. “Affecting a shift in attitudes among today’s youth can help break generations of unhealthy patterns and stop violence before it begins.”
While domestic violence is perpetrated against men, the Decade for Change Report is framed to address the larger problem of men’s violence against women in intimate relationships and how it impacts families, communities and the country.
“The best solution for our nation’s families is that they never experience violence in the first place,” said Cates. “It is our hope that the Decade for Change Report becomes a call to action to engage new partnerships and raise our collective voices to leave a lasting legacy of safety and respect within all American homes.”