Sexual Violence Prevention
The Regional Sexual Violence Prevention program led by Family Services, is tasked with overseeing and administering multi-layered, community level prevention work within our community to address and prevent gender-based violence. Family Services serves as the lead agency for the NYS Department of Health Regional Sexual Violence Prevention programming for Dutchess, Westchester, and Orange Counties, and supports implementation of the Healthy Nightlife and Healthy School Life initiatives. Both initiatives focus on many different community components of prevention, including partnership and coalition building, policy work, environmental impacts, as well as evidence-based interventions. Within the Healthy Nightlife initiative, educators implement the Safer Bars curriculum that educates bar staff on positive bystander skill building to reduce sexual aggression in alcohol serving establishments. Within the Healthy School Life initiative, middle school and high school students learn important lessons about the importance of boundaries, what it means to be an active bystander, as well as learn how to talk and discuss issues regarding gender-based violence.
The goal of our Safer Hudson Valley campaign is to raise awareness among individuals and communities within the Hudson Valley with the goal of reducing risk factors and promoting protective factors related to
sexual violence in the Hudson Valley. This campaign includes a landing page that highlights our work within the nightlife scene and our neighboring county school partners, engages and actively participates in social media to bring to light the importance of prevention, as well as an interactive “choose your own adventure” animation series that highlights the pillars of bystander intervention as it relates to real life scenarios. As an enhancement to the SVP program at Family Services, u hope is this campaign starts to change social norms in our community by encouraging all bystanders to become empowered when they encounter gender-based violence in their daily lives.
The Sexual Violence Prevention (SVP) program at Family Services focuses on the idea that even though sexual violence is a community issue, prevention can also be a community approach. Community-level prevention focuses on influencing factors at the community-level in a way that generates positive change in individuals. The framework of community-level prevention is based on the socio-ecological model, pictured below, that illustrates the complex connection between individual, relationship, community, and societal factors. Our program is designed to work with individuals, community organizations, businesses, schools, stakeholders and policy makers to address harmful social norms, unacceptable behaviors and promote safe spaces within Middle Schools, High Schools, and Nightlife Environments across our Hudson Valley to prevent sexual violence. This focus on community-level is important because it creates broad, meaningful change to sustain prevention efforts over time.