The primary prevention of domestic violence aims to create social change. Through various initiatives, we are working to cultivate individuals and communities that do not tolerate violence and that support healthy relationships and gender equality.
Imparting knowledge and raising awareness is not enough to create social change. In order to achieve this peaceful vision for the future, we must work to shift deeply ingrained attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that contribute to the problem of domestic violence. To do so takes time, practice and multiple opportunities for skill-building and communicating with others during the learning process.
A public health approach to prevention utilizes methods from a range of fields and delivers various positive messages over time through leaders and role models, both individuals and organizations. This model has successfully addressed other prevention issues, including seatbelts, car seats, helmets, and smoking, and in turn has created safer, healthier communities. In applying a public health approach to domestic violence, we seek to identify the root causes of behaviors, the conditions in our communities that condone or promote domestic violence and the strategies that might change those conditions.
A public health model and the RICADV's approach to prevention also acknowledges the ways that different oppressions, such as racism, sexism, and classism, intersect with domestic violence. Understanding and challenging where power and resources exist is critical if we are to build a community that values each person and does not tolerate any form of violence.