Domestic violence coalitions can reduce intimate partner violence

The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) announces the publication of a Health Education & Behavior theme section devoted to the latest research on domestic violence prevention and the effectiveness of community coalitions in 19 states to prevent and reduce intimate partner violence. The theme section "DELTA PREP" (Domestic Violence Prevention Enhancement and Leadership Through Alliances and Preparing and Raising Expectations for Prevention) presents findings from a multi-site project supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to build infrastructure to address intimate partner violence as a public health issue.

Intimate partner affects 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men over the course of their lifetime and can leave people vulnerable to a range of health problems including mental health issues, sexually transmitted infections, chronic pain, cardiovascular disease and tobacco and alcohol abuse. Historically, domestic violence coalitions have focused on supporting those experiencing violence. However, given the costly mental, physical and social health impacts on those exposed, it is critical to address prevention from a community perspective.

"Because of its prevalence and impact on health, intimate partner violence must be considered an urgent health problem deserving the same level of attention and investment we give to problems of similar magnitude and impact like cancer and HIV" said Jim Mercy, Ph.D., Director, CDC Injury Center's Division of Violence Prevention. "The results of DELTA PREP provide hope that actions to prevent can be disseminated and implemented through domestic violence coalitions with the urgency that is due this problem."

Three of the articles in the theme section delve into how the coalitions created and implemented action plans to address domestic violence, specific challenges and the powerful role of partnerships and stakeholders in carrying out action planning. The fourth article presents an innovative, rapid-feedback process that the CDC team implemented to promote quality improvement throughout the project.

John Allegrante, Editor-in-Chief of Health Education & Behavior, said the DELTA PREP theme section constituted a first for the journal and that it would contribute "an important missing piece to the literature and science base underlying promising approaches to mitigate the nationwide problem of domestic violence."


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