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Youth-Led Prevention

It’s no wonder that many of us spend time working to prevent sexual violence with children and young people. Since the goal is to prevent first-time victimization and perpetration of sexual violence, we need to start giving tools and changing norms early on. Of course we also know that prevention work needs to span individuals, communities, and society and those social change efforts need to continue over the life span.

Young people are immersed in youth culture and can offer valuable insight into the causes of and solutions to sexual violence. When youth take a leadership role, it benefits them, their peers, their families, and entire communities. For all of these reasons, young people make wonderful allies and leaders in this work.

In this issue of Partners in Social Change, we examine the approach of youth-led prevention work. We discuss how this approach is consistent with the overall philosophy we have in Washington State of engaging stakeholders and valuing community ownership of preventing sexual violence. Next, we hear about an innovative youth-led prevention program in Cleveland that allows youth leaders to create unique projects in their communities. And who better to explain the benefits of youth-led prevention than young leaders themselves? Four of the fabulous members of Peer Solutions’ STAND & SERVE share their insight into the peer leadership approach to prevention. Finally, we highlight one of the youth leadership projects that is happening here in Washington.

We’re also excited to share a new feature, Question Oppression, which will be in several WCSAP publications. This is a space to explore aspects of sexual violence prevention in relation to an anti-oppression framework. As always, we conclude our publication with some of the related resources that are available in the WCSAP library.

We hope that these stories and resources support any prevention efforts you are doing or want to do with youth in your community! We welcome feedback at prevention@wcsap.org.

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Reviewed: November 13th, 2013