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Community Health Promotion & Prevention

Intimate Partner Violence Strategic Plan

Questions and Answers

  1. What is intimate partner violence?
  2. What is a strategic plan and its purpose?
  3. What is primary prevention?
  4. How will work on the San Francisco Intimate Partner Violence Strategic Plan (IPV Strategic Plan) proceed?
  5. How will the IPV Strategic Plan be used?
  6. How can I find out more information?

1. Intimate partner violence is perpetrated against current or former intimate partners with whom the perpetrator dated, married, or cohabited.

Intimate partner violence is a pattern of coercive behaviors that include one or more of the following: physical abuse or the threat of physical abuse, psychological abuse, sexual assault, progressive social isolation, deprivation, intimidation, and economic coercion.

Adults and adolescents - no matter what their gender, sexual orientation, class, religion, race, age, disability, or ethnicity - may perpetrate, or be victims/survivors of, intimate partner violence.

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2. As the Department of Public Health’s Annual Report 2002 notes, a strategic plan involves the process of building a long-term organizational direction and assembling a strategy to achieve that vision. A strategic planning process results in fundamental decisions that shape the organization’s purpose and activities. Strategic planning is a collaborative process that builds consensus and allows an organization to be proactive in addressing change.

As part of the Department’s mission to “protect and promote the health of all San Franciscans,” the IPV Strategic Plan will serve as a blueprint for the Department’s future activities related to the issue. The Department works on a broad level with such functions as policy development, coordination, and planning. The impact that the Department has on the total environment will support the work of nonprofit and other groups, and individuals in the community. The IPV Strategic Plan focuses on primary prevention.

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3. Primary prevention is an intervention, or series of interventions, before injury or illness has occurred. It is designed to reduce, and eventually eliminate, new cases.

Primary prevention can help the individual, family, or community to become stronger and more resistant to injury or illness; an example is following an exercise program. It can decrease the effect of external factors upon the individual, family, or community; an example is wearing bicycle helmets. Primary prevention can also create a barrier between the agent or cause and the individual, family, or community; an example is allowing fewer liquor outlets.

In the context of intimate partner violence, primary prevention means preventing violent incidents or patterns of behavior before they occur. The planners envision a community that teaches, encourages, and supports intimate partners to treat each other with mutual respect and caring, and that promotes healthy social, political, and economic environments.

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4. In fall 2002, the Community Health Education Section of the San Francisco Department of Public Health began to create the Department’s first strategic plan for primary prevention of intimate partner violence. The development of this five-year plan was made possible through a grant received from the State Department of Health Services’ Epidemiology and Injury Control Section.

After a review of the literature, project staff interviewed many people from the Department and the community in order to gain insight into community needs and to help identify Department activities that would support proposed objectives in the IPV Strategic Plan. (See the IPV Strategic Plan itself for a fuller description of the process and contributors.)

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5. The IPV Strategic Plan contains a summary of root causes and risk factors for intimate partner violence as well as national and San Francisco data. It can be used as a resource for information about intimate partner violence. Perhaps most importantly, the Plan outlines specific goals and objectives for 2003 through 2008. Since the State was not able to continue its support for the implementation phase, the Department will seek to raise funds from other sources. As funding is obtained, appropriate objectives will be selected for action. Groups and organizations in the community are invited to adapt the objectives to their own projects, and to work collaboratively with the Department.

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6. For more information, to learn about the project, or to arrange input, please contact: (415) 575-5684

Community Health Education Section
Department of Public Health
30 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 2300
San Francisco CA 94102-6020
(415) 575-5799 (fax)

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