Goals and principles for a coordinated community response (CCR)
- Coordinated community response (CCR) programs may focus on a single type of violence or on gender-based violence generally. Whatever the level of coordination or the focus, the primary goal should always be increased victim safety and support. Coordinating responses without focusing on victim safety can, in fact, be harmful to victims. Other goals for CCR programs might include:
- Short term
- Increase knowledge about laws that protect women and girls
- Support and empower women and girls
- Ensure sanctions for perpetrators
- Long term
- Change harmful attitudes and beliefs about violence against women
- Reduce prevalence and ultimately end violence
- Goals should include a timeframe for accomplishing objectives. For example, the Southern African Development Community Protocol on Gender and Development requires that states “adopt integrated approaches, including institutional cross sector structures, with the aim of reducing gender based violence by half by 2015.” Article 25. The protocol applies to Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Similarly, the Coordinated Community Response Council in Santa Fe, USA set its goal to make Santa Fe the safest city in the United States by 2012. CCRC-Santa Fe focuses on domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
- The goals of a coordinated community response program should be reflected in principles of intervention and action. Key principles for any CCR effort should include:
- Respond to the expressed needs of victims: Intervention practices must respond to the articulated needs of victims, whose lives are most impacted by the interveners’ actions.
- Focus on changing the perpetrator and the system: The system, not the victim, must hold the offender accountable from initial response and continuing through restrictions on offender's behavior. Focus must remain on changing the offender’s behavior and the system’s response.
- Recognize differential impacts on different people: All intervention policy/practice development must recognize how the impact of intervention differs, depending on the economic, cultural, ethnic, immigration, sexual orientation, and other circumstances of the victim and offender. Non-majority-culture community members must review and monitor policies and practices.
- Address the context of violence: Most incidents of violence are part of a larger pattern of violence. The need for protection from further harm and the need to create a deterrent for the assailant should determine the intensity of the intervention.
- Avoid responses that further endanger victims: Intervention practices should balance the need for standardized institutional responses with the need for individualized responses which recognize potential consequences to the victim from confronting the offender, validate victim input, and support victim autonomy.
- Link with others: The intervention response must be built on cooperative relationships with other community members and on communication and interdependent procedures to ensure consistency across sectors.
- Involve victims/survivors in monitoring changes: Women advocates and victims should continually monitor intervention policies and procedures to evaluate their effectiveness in protecting victims and to identify training needs.
(See: Battered Women’s Justice Project Principles of Intervention and Core Principles of Intervention, StopVAW, The Advocates for Human Rights)
CASE STUDY – United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has created Together We Can End Violence against Women and Girls: A Strategy, a series of proposals to create a comprehensive approach to combating violence against women through cooperation of the criminal justice system, public sector agencies, and non-profit organizations. The strategy focuses on protection through an effective criminal justice system, provision of services to victims of violence against women, and prevention of violence through awareness-raising campaigns, educational programming, and intervention training. These proposals were based on written responses collected from victims of violence, meetings with frontline experts from around England and Wales, and a number of reviews conducted by government agencies. The reviews address the National Health Service’s response to violence against women and girls, as well as the criminal justice system’s response to rape complaints. Progress toward the program’s goals will be overseen by an inter-departmental board managed by the Home Office, and streamlined for implementation by directors at the local level. An independent review of the strategy will be conducted annually.