Coordinated Community Responses to Domestic Violence in Six Communities: Beyond the Justice System. Chapter 4. Creating and Maintaining Change


The fundamental changes that have occurred in the way each of the study communities responds to domestic violence came about through different means. In every site, however, changing the system was a slow process that took place over a number of years and often had setbacks along the way. Every community has its own dynamics and characteristics which affected the way it brought about change. While the communities in this study used a variety of strategies to reshape their response to domestic violence, some common elements were important to the success of these efforts across the sites. This chapter describes the role of several key factors in creating change: key events, leadership, coordinating committees, and advocacy. In order to change the system permanently, it is not enough simply to put the changes into place. Without ongoing monitoring and coordination among the various agencies, a community risks losing ground as key people or circumstances change. This chapter discusses important considerations for institutionalizing the changes in the community's response to domestic violence and for sustaining these changes over time. The chapter concludes with a discussion of issues for rural communities to consider in coordinating a response.