|Strategies for Confronting Domestic Violence - A Resource Manual (UN, 1993, 130 p.)|
|VIII. Preventing domestic violence|
Practitioners base prevention strategies on the premise that domestic violence is not inevitable. It is possible for families, partners and all other members (or ex-members) of a household to live with one another without violence.
Prevention strategies must first protect the safety, security and well-being of victims and those at risk. Prevention strategies need to operate at various levels, addressing the many layers of the problem.
Any serious prevention strategy requires a long-term commitment to individual and societal change. In the short-term, victims need immediate, effective services and assistance. A comprehensive domestic violence strategy requires both reactive measures, including protection, treatment and law enforcement measures and proactive measures, education and public information programmes.
Sometimes, increased funding for prevention strategies may result in reduced support for crisis services.166 Because resources are limited, practitioners and others may have to make choices, for example, either to provide direct support to victims or to work on broader based changes in society.
For instance, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Lugar de Mujer is a womens organization that supports neighbourhood self-help groups for women in abusive relationships. The group offers legal assistance and education for women. Faced with a choice, the organization decided to focus on alternative approaches to dealing with domestic violence instead of opening a shelter. The organization wants to address the root causes of violence against women. They are reluctant, therefore, to move responsibility for solutions away from the community and into the realm of State-dependent structures.167
The public demand for services is often greater than the services available. In Canada, for instance, improved public awareness of the problem has increased both the need and public expectation for services. As a result, the actual provision of services is not always adequate to meet the demand.168
This issue has been recognized in several European countries where public awareness campaigns include providing telephone help lines. The telephone lines allow campaign organizers to respond to the increased reporting generated by the campaign publicity.169