SCOPE Thought Piece, Question #1: What are the critical challenges facing the prevention field?

Alan Berkowitz, Ph.D.

Much has been learned about effective prevention, including specific approaches that have been scientifically validated as well as broader principles for ensuring that their implementation is effective.  What is most important, therefore, is for practitioners to make use of the knowledge that is already available.  Many prevention efforts are not based on proven theories and good science and their implementation is not consistent with best practice.  Good prevention is applied science and is labor intensive, requiring careful planning, extensive collaboration, expert consultation to address barriers, and the tailoring of the chosen approach to a specific community or setting.  It is hoped therefore, that this thought piece will aid prevention practitioners in applying what is currently known regarding what works and how to implement it.

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2 Responses to SCOPE Thought Piece, Question #1: What are the critical challenges facing the prevention field?

  1. Pingback: What are the critical challenges facing the prevention field? — CALCASA - California Coalition Against Sexual Assault

  2. Thank you David for your comments to this question. I would add the following specific challenges to our sexual assault prevention work. 1. Evaluating what we do. Within the limits of our budges and resources, we need to know if what we do is working. 2. Getting bystanders to intervene. We know from BI research that most people say that they would intervene to prevent a sexual assault, but when in the situation don’t. We therefore need to train people in a variety of skills tha offer a variety of options for intervening, that are suited to different personalities, cultures, situations, power differentials, etc. I try to do this in my work by offering direct and indirect intervention options and by teaching a range of skills from more confrontational to more subtle, even using humor and distraction. 3. We need to develop a range of interventions that are tailored and linked to each other so as to be synergystic and mutually reinforcing, so that the whole becomes greater than the parts. 4. We need to learn to use media effectively, avoiding fear-shame and shock based approaches, and use media in concert with other efforts so that they are mutually reinforcing as in #3 above. 5. When we teach individuals (usually women) to avoid risk, we need to do this in a way that is empowering, positive, and not subject to victim blaming and fear-induction. Thanks to you and CALCASA for all the good work and leadership that you provide to the field in all of these areas.


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