In Fall/Winter 2021, OAESV’s Director of Prevention performed a statewide capacity assessment to understand better if OAESV’s local programs have adequate knowledge, tools, structures, and processes to provide comprehensive prevention programming. We know that across the country, millions of people are affected by sexual violence each year. We also know that this violence does not have to continue, and certainly not at the magnitude that it currently is. Prevention is absolutely possible, but do programs have the support (internally and externally) that they need to provide the kind of prevention necessary?
11 of 17 invited local programs participated in semi-structured interviews that explored the strengths that local centers have in providing comprehensive prevention programming, as well as the barriers inhibiting progress. Topics explored included leadership, structures, staffing, partnerships, resources, and climate. To read the full results, please click the image below to download the report.
While these results are Ohio-specific, they do not differ much from other national capacity assessments and can certainly be explored in other states. This assessment found that in fact individual capacity (such as knowledge and skills) is often inhibited by national priorities, funding, and organizational structures. Staff professional development opportunities may do little when funding, strategic plans, and turnover reduce opportunities for robust prevention. State entities must advocate for broad, stable funding for prevention that allows for access to tools, full departments, and fewer activity restrictions.
Because national access to tools or funding (such as through RPE) can create ripples down to individual skills and knowledge, this is a topic that we must address together. While Ohio can use these results to address barriers at individual organizations, it would be even more powerful for these barriers to be addressed across the country. Maybe this national collaboration can bring us closer to the future we dream of, where our peers, loved ones, and strangers no longer experience sexual violence.
Overall, it is recommended that local centers put in place:
- Board members with prevention backgrounds
- Organizational funding that is proportional to prevention goals, organizational values, and overall organizational mission
- Sustainability through succession and annual strategic planning within prevention departments
Additionally, it is recommended that state coalitions and federal partners address the following priorities:
- State prevention funding advocacy to increase unrestricted funds
- Training and technical assistance in sustainability, partnership development, and strategic planning
- National advocacy for increased access to CDC tools in violence prevention
- National advocacy for federal funding that does not prohibit prevention activities
“The State of Prevention” is a blog series that explores Ohio’s prevention landscape, highlighting both history and current events that impact the field.