Everyone deserves to feel safe in their home and community. Violence occurs in various forms, including but not limited to child abuse and neglect, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, self-directed violence, and community violence. It is a complex problem which requires a long-term commitment and the buy-in and collaboration of multiple partners and sectors.

In 2017, in response to increasing violence in our community, we started working with community partners on a public health-based approach to preventing violence.Four people seated at a table with one man standing pointing at a screen

Our violence prevention efforts really began to take shape in a variety of ways over the past year. The Violence Prevention (VP) team is currently involved in 13 different projects that address a spectrum of violence prevention across the county. Projects include several youth-focused initiatives in neighborhoods and schools, cross-sector collaborations like the Community Safety Intervention Team (CSIT), which responds to violence incidents and works to prevent further violence and retaliation, and the development of five work groups that are developing and presenting recommendations to address disproportionate minority contact in the criminal justice system.

Also significant is the VP team’s work to move upstream and prevent violence before it occurs. A recent kickoff of police/resident listening circles coordinated by the Zeidler Center for Public Discussion is a great example of looking at upstream strategies for violence prevention. These listening circles, which are community led, will be occurring 12 times throughout the year in two different neighborhoods in Madison, with the hope of expanding to other areas of Dane County in the future. In 2020, the VP team will remain busy collecting and compiling VP data, growing systems thinking and action capacity within the VP coalition, and releasing a county-wide multi-sector violence prevention 2020 plan.

Working with the community to address and prevent violence will promote safer, healthier environments, and help foster individual and community resilience.

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Public Health Madison & Dane County and a link back to the original post.