SHARED SAFETY: Transforming Philadelphia’s Response to Relational Violence
Our systems-change work is focused on ensuring people experiencing relationship violence receive the interventions they need to be safe.
Domestic violence is alarmingly widespread throughout Philadelphia, yet the City currently has only a small number of specialized organizations working to support an overwhelming number of people impacted by domestic violence. Instead, Philadelphia needs a coordinated community response that will create safety and prevent relationship abuse.
To that end, the City's service providers and government representatives have come together to pursue a shared commitment to making system-level change. Together, we have established a strategic plan to create a more effective city-wide response to domestic violence. This plan will:
- ensure domestic violence-informed screening and access to services
- embed domestic violence-informed practices into human service agencies
- expand capacity for emergency housing
- establish a system that allows for safety, self-reliance, and wellbeing
- assure people who act abusively are offered alternatives to violence
Women Against Abuse and its partners are now working to implement these goals to create a truly coordinated community response to domestic violence in Philadelphia!
From the beginning, Women Against Abuse has provided vital leadership, staff resources, fundraising, and coordination for Shared Safety. Between 2012 and 2018, Women Against Abuse was a co-backbone organization for the effort, along with the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbilities Services. Today, Philadelphia's Office of Domestic Violence Strategies is the primary backbone of Shared Safety, led by Azucena Ugarte, Women Against Abuse's former Director of Prevention, Education and Technical Assistance.
More than 80 stakeholders meet bi-monthly to ensure plan progress, set policy, and provide a forum for discussion. Five sub-committees are each chaired by a health and human services organization and a victim’s services provider.
Already, Shared Safety has had some important results, including commitments from public stakeholders to begin to change the way they collect data and information, to be trained, and to publicly articulate their support for survivors. Shared Safety was pivotal in the establishment of a central office to address domestic violence in Philadelphia by Mayor Jim Kenney in 2016.
Moving forward, Shared Safety will require significant funding in order to implement the various “implementation” components of this plan that are designed to ensure that systems are transformed for years to come. For more information, see “How You Can Help Advance Shared Safety.”
No other major metropolitan area in the U.S. has an approach at the scale and depth that this plan advances. Philadelphia can lead the way!
Want to learn more about Shared Safety?
Check out our 2016 Shared Safety progress report below. For more information contact Director of Policy & Prevention Elise Scioscia at email@example.com.