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Homegrown Safety: Community Participation and Violence Prevention Open Access

Recent political discourse argues that the International Community needs to take a firmer stand on ending gender-based violence (GBV) as a consequence of war. Yet the existing literature suggests that governmental policy prescriptions are less effective than grassroots programs and local policy initiatives at reducing GBV. As an example, the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) of 2012 attempts to curb GBV in conflict with several solutions, such as better education, increased access to healthcare, and more comprehensive training for those involved in peacekeeping missions. However, the initiative fails to include actionable steps towards prevention because its generalizations about the sources of the problem are too broad. Causes and implications of GBV in conflict are unique and depend on conflict specificities. The paper offers a comparative analysis of legal deterrence (i.e. the PSVI) and community-based GBV prevention programs. The analysis uses secondary data to evaluate the effectiveness of these programs in terms of ending violence and creating attitudes of gender equity. Both short-term and long-term outcomes from multiple community prevention initiatives suggest that it is important to look at the cultural and relational contexts in the region. The paper finds the common thread for success between various community-based prevention programs through a comparative case study analysis, and will be supplemented by content analysis as well as simple statistical processes. The working paper seeks to add to the literature about the "psychology of violence"; it is important to discover the generalizable causal threads for violence in order to encourage prevention. Based on this analysis, future policy research and proposals should seek to receive input from the affected community to create initiatives that are successful on the local level.

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