Halting the Spread of Violence Requires Networks and Coalitions Working in Concert

I have met many people and organizations doing great work in peace-building, violence prevention, and violence intervention. However, the ability of these organizations to operate at all, as well as to progress in increasingly more conducive environments, depends on social compacts. These social compacts result in funding via our tax dollars.  They result in enabling laws and regulations, and they result in improved social norms that retard violence in all its manifestations.

What are some of the most effective networks and coalitions we should know about and support?

On April 7, 2015 the American College of Physicians, American College of Surgeons, American Bar Association, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Public Health Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American College of Emergency Physicians acted in concert and issued a single Call to Action on Firearm-Related Injury and Death in the United States (http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2151828)

“The specific recommendations include universal background checks of gun purchasers, elimination of physician “gag laws,” restricting the manufacture and sale of military-style assault weapons and large-capacity magazines for civilian use, and research to support strategies for reducing firearm-related injuries and deaths. The health professional organizations also advocate for improved access to mental health services and avoidance of stigmatization of persons with mental and substance use disorders through blanket reporting laws. The American Bar Association, acting through its Standing Committee on Gun Violence, confirms that none of these recommendations conflict with the Second Amendment or previous rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court.”

How wonderful!!! Let’s make sure our policy-makers hear their words.

The National Health Collaborative on Violence and Abuse (NHCVA) is comprised of more than 30 national professional health associations, dedicated to reducing and addressing the health consequences of intimate partner violence (IPV) and abuse. (http://nhcva.org/) Check out their free resources and  webinars featuring experts on key topics in health and domestic/sexual violence.

The Injury and Violence Prevention Network is a group of national organizations that support injury and violence prevention policies at the national level and advocates for federal funding for injury and violence prevention. The Safe States Alliance convenes and leads the Network, including facilitating monthly calls for information sharing and coordinating and collaborating on joint strategies for advancing shared goals. For more information on the Injury and Violence Prevention Network, please contact the Safe States Alliance. (http://www.safestates.org/?IVPN)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has banded with the Safe States Alliance and others to form the STRYVE Action CouncilThe STRYVE Action Council is a multi-sector consortium of organizations that works at the national level to advance youth violence prevention efforts in states and communities. Current Action Council members represent the public health, education, law enforcement, youth-serving, and social service sectors. CDC recruited Action Council members based on their sector, interest in youth violence prevention, and presence at the national, state, and local levels.

The Action Council’s work in support of state and local efforts includes:

— Raising awareness that youth violence is a preventable public health issue by disseminating messages through their extensive networks

— Expanding the network of national, state, and local organizations that are involved in, and champions for, youth violence prevention

— Informing national, state, and local policy that advances youth violence prevention strategies

CDC leads and administers the STRYVE Action Council with support from the Safe States Alliance. Safe States organizations provide voluntary, in-kind support to the STRYVE Action Council whose activities are driven by a 2-year action plan developed in 2014. The Action Council accomplishes its work through small workgroups that are co-led by CDC, Safe States, and Action Council members. The council meets quarterly, including one in-person meeting per year to share progress, provide organizational updates, and to engage in strategic discussions around advancing youth violence prevention in the United States.

Since tracking began in April 2014, Action Council members have collectively disseminated more than 1,000 youth violence prevention messages using social media. Additionally, the Action Council network alone represents more than 1,000 affiliate organizations and chapters that are positioned to champion youth violence prevention. And, the Action Council has developed several resources that clarify the current policy environment and federal investments in youth violence prevention.

For more information about the STRYVE Action Council, please contact Nadine Doyle at hvx8@cdc.gov, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention.

And do not forget CDC’s excellent on-line community of resources (www.cdc.gov/features/veto-violence/index.html)  VetoViolence is CDC’s online source of free violence prevention trainings, tools, and resources. Check out the VetoViolence website to learn how to stop violence, before it happens. Are you a violence prevention practitioner who is busy, short on time, doing more with less, and looking for ways to maximize your resources? CDC’s VetoViolence website offers free, online, interactive, and engaging violence prevention tools, trainings, and resources based on the best available evidence and research. The tools, trainings, and resources provide practical knowledge and skills to assist and enhance the work of violence prevention practitioners. No practitioner need feel alone and unsupported!

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