Sexual assault and domestic violence prevention is a relatively new field of practice and study, emerging out of the social movements of the late 1960s and 1970s.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the United States experienced a tremendous increase in survivors of sexual/domestic violence publicly speaking out and sharing their stories of victimization. This resulted in increased activism around the issues of sexual/domestic violence, and the development of services for survivors. Although awareness was becoming more widespread and services were made available, the occurrence of sexual assault and domestic violence were not decreasing. ( David A. Wolfe, Peter Jaffe 2003)
In the late 1980s studies were done which revealed compelling stories of real people whose lives were profoundly affected by non-stranger sexual assault and domestic violence. People who worked in the field began to understand the root causes of sexual/domestic violence, refined programs, and lobbied for support and funding of prevention efforts. (Janet Meyer, M.A. 11/06/00)
Research reveals that many of the contributing risk factors for sexual and physical assault have been identified in childhood and adolescence. Changing the norms and climate about relationships and providing parents, students, teachers and the community with skills needed to foster healthy relationships along with problem solving skills, and positive values and beliefs, are necessary to shift from crisis intervention to one of prevention.
SAFE in Hunterdon is focused on Primary Prevention to address these risk factors and stop sexual and domestic violence before it occurs. For more information about SAFE's Prevention work go to Primary Prevention.