Coordinated Community Responses to Domestic Violence in Six Communities: Beyond the Justice System. Recognize the roles of all community members

10/01/1996

A community's response to domestic violence should take into account the fact that not all battered women come into contact with or seek services from any agencies. To address the needs of all battered women requires a response that includes every member of the community. In this way, a community's response may have an impact on even the most isolated battered woman. Raising the community's awareness and reshaping social norms around this issue so that everyone plays a role in condemning domestic violence and supporting battered women is the critical basis for widespread and permanent changes. Widespread education and prevention activities were used in some of the study sites to involve the larger community in the response to domestic violence. San Francisco even developed culturally-appropriate messages to mobilize particular ethnic communities to take action against domestic violence. The efforts are an essential part of a coordinated response. The ability to respond to domestic violence is not limited to service agencies and providers; clergy, employers, and neighbors can and should all play a role.