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TTA Theme This Month

The February–March Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) topic is the public health approach to violence prevention. In addition to the newsletter, DSG will host a Webinar on an overview of the public health approach, featuring experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This Webinar, to be held Wednesday, March 2, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. EST, will be available to the National Forum, Community-Based Violence Prevention, and Defending Childhood sites (see, under Training Opportunities, MORE).

A Public Health Approach to Ending Violence

New Community of Practice Launched

•  Funding Opportunities
•  Training Opportunities

News and Views
•  Reports, Guidelines, and Briefs
•  News
•  Other
by Ali Goodyear


Violence is preventable, and prevention is a hallmark of the public health approach. Youth violence is more likely to occur when complex environmental factors coincide, such as poverty, structural racism, and easy access to alcohol, drugs, and weapons. It festers in environments lacking protective elements like community connections, engaged mentors, and prosocial out-of-school activities.

Addressing these factors is not the mandate of one group or one field, which is why the public health approach focuses on engaging multiple sectors to work together and with community members to improve the environment for young people. This complements criminal justice approaches and brings an important perspective to the work of addressing violence. Key characteristics include using community-level data to drive practice, reducing the impact of risk factors, increasing resilience factors, and concentrating on effective policies and practices to prevent violence before it occurs, thus reducing its far-reaching impacts, and ensuring communities' health and safety.




Faith-Based Community of Practice Talks About Trust
On Jan. 12, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice and 35 faith-based leaders nationwide held their second Community of Practice conference call. The theme was "Enhancing Faith Community/Law Enforcement Communication in an Era of Mistrust."

The discussion was led by Pastor Gregory Sanders, founder of the Rock Christian Fellowship and president of Long Beach, Calif.'s Ministerial Alliance; Pastor Danny Sanchez of the City Peace Project in San Jose, Calif.; and Lt. Col. Mel Russell of the Baltimore (Md.) Police Department. Although the activities and initiatives described by the three speakers differed, the core principles identified by each were remarkably similar. All agreed the faith community's position is "in the middle"; that they risk criticism from each side in efforts to reconcile; that the work begins with the personal, not the institutional; and that there must be a commitment to transparency, constant communication, willingness to tackle the most sensitive issues, and readiness to hold one another accountable.

Pastor Sanders works with police academy students, advises on staffing, and helps the Long Beach Police Department identify the areas that are "hurting most," experiencing trauma, and on the edge of trouble. He works closely with the department in crisis situations.

Pastor Sanchez and his team are working with police and other community- and faith-based organizations to heal trauma and provide support to families torn apart by homicide. Services range from prayer and counseling referral to help with rent, food, and funeral expenses. In his Trauma to Triumph program at Santa Clara Valley (Calif.) Medical Center, Sanchez's team attempts to stop retaliation while providing basic services for victimized families.

Lt. Col. Russell described a reentry initiative to "restore broken lives," through which 105 returning offenders have been placed in jobs. He also pointed to promising initiatives such as a citywide effort to help the poor, police readiness to form personal relationships through programs like Officer Friendly, and the mobilization of roughly 2,000 individuals from the faith-based community to convey "love, hope, and peace in the city's most broken areas."

Funding Opportunities

Juvenile Drug Courts TTA Program
OJJDP is seeking a provider to deliver training and technical assistance (TTA) to juvenile drug courts on evidence-based practices and behavioral health approaches for youth. This program will build, develop, and expand TTA for mental health and substance abuse treatment practitioners as well as drug courts. Applications are due Feb. 8, 2016.

Training Opportunities

NCHE Webinars
National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) Webinars focus on the schooling of homeless children and youth. NCHE is offering free Webinars in February.


by Jack Calhoun

Seattle PolicePhoto taken by Joe Mabel, 2010

Over the past 2 years, cities such as Baltimore, Md.; Cleveland, Ohio; Ferguson, Mo.; and Minneapolis, Minn.; have been thrust into the national spotlight because of challenges around police–community trust. "Trust" has emerged as a vexing criminal justice issue that faces an increasing number of communities.

In an effort to begin a national dialog on how to create greater trust, a Law Enforcement Community of Practice—what in more academic terms is called a "Learning Community"—was recently created.

Communities of Practice bring together people who share a common interest (with specific goals to share information), meet members' unique needs, and move the field forward by raising the quality of practice overall.

The decision to form a Law Enforcement Community of Practice was made in consultation with numerous law enforcement partners who expressed a strong desire to establish such a community of practice for a host of reasons. Chief among these is that police–community trust represents one of the most salient issues in criminal justice today. Second, many cities face significant challenges in this area and have begun to alter law enforcement practice, laying the groundwork for a positive shift in the way police and community members interact. Law enforcement partners felt these changes could be shared, discussed, and improved upon.

For the participants in this community of practice, the work behind this change starts with information sharing. Law enforcement leaders from the Forum, Community-Based Violence Prevention, and Defending Childhood cities will participate on a conference call every other month to provide valuable information on topics such as police–community trust, procedural justice, police training, staff evaluation, de-escalation, use of technology (including cameras), and prevention activities. The Law Enforcement Community of Practice will determine agenda topics.

In addition to this information exchange, the community of practice will identify and share key documents and make recommendations for training and technical assistance, as well as suggest content for the June 2016 National Summit on Youth Violence Prevention. Materials development could include training curricula, staff evaluations, and new departmental vision/mission statements, with other efforts centered on deployment strategies and police–community programs (e.g., tutoring, mentoring, coaching, barbeques, police–citizen academies, and police and faith-based home visits).

The first conference call is scheduled for February. For more information contact Bass Zanjani, project director, at



Taking Gender Bias out of Policing
A new guide published by the U.S. Department of Justice will assist police in identifying and preventing gender bias when responding to sexual assaults and domestic violence. Eight principles, including treating all victims with respect and referring victims to appropriate services, can be adopted in policies and training.


Violence Prevention Starts at Home
Customizing youth violence prevention programs to address different racial and ethnic groups could help reduce fights between teens, according to a paper in the Journal of Child and Family Studies. Lead researcher Rashmi Shetgiri says families—especially parents—must be involved. Shetgiri and her colleagues conducted two focus groups for African American parents and two focus groups for Latino parents of 13- to 17-year-olds in urban areas. Both groups agreed violence prevention starts with parents. But while Latino families tolerated fighting only as a last resort, African American parents expressed some doubt about the effectiveness of nonviolent conflict resolution. Latino and African American parents both endorsed teaching nonviolent strategies. Shetgiri's team says improving violence prevention programs may first require addressing parental attitudes toward fighting.


Transcript of Attorney General's Remarks on Jan. 18
"The victories of the Civil Rights Movement were extraordinary achievements, and it is fitting that we celebrate them today," said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch at the Jan. 18 National Action Network's Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Breakfast. "But even more than celebrate, it is fitting that we act." The U.S. Department of Justice is taking a hard look at every stage of the criminal justice process. With efforts to end the school-to-prison pipeline and investments in programs that use an evidence-based approach to public health and justice systems, the Justice Department is working to "ensure that everyone in this country can achieve the full blessings of American life."
Contact Us
Send questions or feedback about the newsletter to or Bass Zanjani, project director, at 301–951–0056.

Looking for a particular article? You can read past issues of the newsletter here.
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The National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention Newsletter is prepared under Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Cooperative Agreement No. 2014–MU–MU–K021 with Development Services Group, Inc.

The views, opinions, and content of this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of OJJDP.