By Katherine Gotch, MA, LPC
The National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence (NPEIV): Global Partners for Peace Annual Forum was held on Saturday September 23, 2017 in beautiful San Diego, California. NPEIV is a multidisciplinary collaboration of professionals, organizations and community members with the mission of making the prevention of all forms of interpersonal violence (e.g., sexual abuse/violence, child abuse, intimate partner/domestic abuse, elder abuse) a national priority and to encourage healthy relationships by linking science, practice, policy and advocacy. This was the 9th year for the Forum (formally Think Tank) and another successful coming together of people from around the world focused on ending all forms of interpersonal violence across the lifespan.
This year’s Forum began with recognition of prior leadership and the growth of the organization over the past ten years as highlighted by the addition of an Executive Board and a formal welcome to the first elected NPEIV president, Viola Vaughan-Eden. Guest speakers Reco Bembry spoke about fundraising and philanthropy within a purpose driven economy, and Katherine Chon spoke on preventing and disrupting human trafficking victimization. The NPEIV National Plan was also highlighted, with an emphasis on the almost two hundred organizational and individual endorsements for the Plan.
NPEIV has seven actions teams (Public Awareness, Training & Mentoring, Research, Practice, Public Policy, Dissemination/Translation, Global Peace) focused on tackling all forms of interpersonal violence and supporting the mission of the National Plan, a fully referenced treatise of recommendations based in research, best practices, and common sense to further NPEIV's mission of ending interpersonal violence across the lifespan. Each action team met for the majority of the day to strategize and prioritize their agenda and activities for the upcoming year, with a final reporting of next steps to all attendees at the conclusion of the Forum.
As the Senior Chair of the Public Policy Action Team (AT5), it was wonderful to see the energy and interest from ongoing and new attendees at our meeting. In addition to continued work on proposed federal legislation focused on requiring training of all forms of interpersonal violence within undergraduate and graduate programs, development of an overarching statement for community engagement related to policy and reaching out to potential partnership organizations within each member’s community were identified as primary goals for AT5 members for the upcoming year. The intent of this community outreach is to develop stronger relationships with grassroots and community level programs and organizations directly involved with those impacted by interpersonal violence in order to facilitate mutual learning and strengthen the ability for policies to meet the needs of our diverse and unique communities. Continued work on research based policy was also an area of discussion, as well as strategies for incorporating trauma informed concepts into policy and the ongoing work on current areas of focus (e.g., corporal punishment, sexual abuse, intimate partner violence).
Activities of other action teams for the upcoming year included, but are definitely not limited to, effective linking of research to practice through the Violence Research Digest, creation of an easily accessible database of trauma practitioners to assist consumers in locating providers within their region, development of an NPEIV blog, strategies for addressing interpersonal violence at the international level, and continued work on the development of the Handbook of Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my involvement with NPEIV over the past four years has been the networking and opportunities to learn from individuals across all disciplines, many of whom I may not have had the opportunity to connect with otherwise (e.g., medical professionals, members of the military, community members). To reach our shared goal of prevention, breaking down the silos in which we often become stuck and having dialogue without agenda across disciplines is the only way we will ever be successful – and I think NPEIV, as an umbrella partnership of numerous organizations, agencies, and individuals working to end interpersonal violence nationally and internationally, creates a safe venue for these sometimes difficult conversations, yet integral partnerships, to take place, develop and continue to grow.