Outcomes from MNCASA’s 2009 Minnesota Summit to Prevent Sexual Violence
As an unprecedented gathering of leaders from key sectors, the 2009 Minnesota Summit advanced collective thinking about a comprehensive approach to sexual violence prevention in Minnesota. The goals of the Summit were to:
- Engage new prevention champions.
- Identify actions that organizations could take to advance prevention.
- Share data to inform effective sexual violence prevention practices.
- Make the case that sexual violence prevention is everyone’s business.
- Test the model of the Summit as a strategy that other communities, states and the nation could use to advance prevention.
The Summit accomplished these goals and more. Outcomes to inform future actions emerged from the Summit and from pre-Summit roundtables with Minnesota industry, education, health, and government leaders, as well as outreach to faith leaders.
Meetings leading up to the Summit and participants at the Summit itself generated a wealth of prevention action ideas. (See Summit Roundtable summaries.) The weeks following the Summit were filled with meetings with planners and Summit participants who were inspired to put sexual violence prevention on their agendas. Download The Minnesota Summit Outcomes.
David Lee talks with Minnesota Summit organizers Cordelia Anderson, Donna Dunn, and Patty Wetterling.
10 Key follow-up actions
1. Expand, Develop and Engage Additional Champions for Sexual Violence Prevention
- Sponsoring State Departments – Convene leaders to identify next steps in support of sexual violence prevention.
- Business Leaders – Identify strategies to support active engagement of business leaders. Strategies being reviewed include:
- Follow up with leaders to strengthen guiding principles and make the case for adding sexual violence prevention to the business agenda.
- Build on the 2007 Minnesota Department of Health report, Costs of Sexual Violence in Minnesota, to collect research or in other ways identify the business impact of sexual violence in Minnesota.
- Analyze the economic benefits of organizational practices that support sexual violence prevention.
- Challenge the presumed efficacy of marketing strategies that reinforce gender stereotypes or objectify women and children. This could include developing sector-specific codes of conduct and identifying key business leaders to advance such standards.
- Work with business partners to create a Business Plan for sexual violence prevention.
- Faith Leaders – Convene a roundtable of faith leaders to design prevention actions that build on the teachings of their particular doctrines.
- Media and Philanthropy – Follow up with media and philanthropy participants to strategize specific actions for prevention. (See Media below.)
- MDH Action Teams – Coordinate the work of the three Minnesota Department of Health volunteer Action Teams to align with Summit follow-up initiatives.
- Summit Participants – All participants were sent links to resources to assist them in follow-up activities. The Minnesota Summit E-Report was sent electronically to participants in February 2010.
MNCASA will contact Summit participants during the summer of 2010 to collect results and questions about the progress of follow-up actions in their spheres of influence.
2. Work across sectors, to advance sexual and relational health, including countering the negative impact of gender stereotypes and violent or objectifying images in media, entertainment, and advertising.
- Explore the feasibility of a “code of ethics” for marketing and advertising to reflect a commitment not to use sexually exploitive language, images or content to sell products to children.
- Pilot measures for communities to designate violence-free zones e.g., no ads that sexually objectify children or depict sexually degrading language or acts of sexual violence.
- Counter the harmful impact of legal adult pornography through measures such as limiting access to pornified content to minors and eliminating references to children on legal pornography.
- Promote policies and organizational practices that discourage holding events at locations that offer pay-per-view pornography.
- Advocate eliminating ads for commercial sexual exploitation on the Internet and in the newspaper.
- Encourage the development of media and marketing that includes respectful and equitable (not objectified, exploitative or violent) expressions of sexuality, gender, and relationships.
3. Work with Summit participants to identify and disseminate sector-specific organizational practices and public policy initiatives. For example:
- Explore the feasibility of integrating sexual violence prevention into existing Wellness Programs. The Academy of Violence and Abuse report, The Hidden Costs in Health Care: The Economic Impact of Violence and Abuse Link to www.avahealth.org, provides recent data to support the financial benefits of prevention for healthcare providers.
- Summit participants included BlueCross BlueShield, Allina’s Center for Healthcare Innovation, HealthPartners, and Academy on Violence and Abuse.
- A Summit follow-up meeting with Bobbi Cordano from Allina’s Center for Healthcare Innovation considered how the cost and health impact of sexual violence might fit within their Community Health Improvement initiative. Planners discussed the link between sexual violence prevention and the healthcare priority to manage catastrophic claims and chronic disease.
4. Work across sectors (policy, faith, education, treatment and law enforcement) to identify more effective ways to address acts of sexual harm with juveniles and adults.
- Identify interventions and treatment for youthful offenders that address the problematic behavior in an age- and severity-appropriate manner.
- Advocate for better assessment of harm and risk for all ages.
- Evaluate effectiveness of the current sex offender management methods.
- Encourage educational and/or restorative interventions for sexual behavior problems such as ‘sexting,’ harassment, bullying, and other acts of sexual harm outside of criminal statutes.
- Work with law enforcement, community, and policy leaders to identify more effective ways to deal with juvenile offenders and repeat misdemeanor offenses of adults. Identify the availability of quality clinical assessments and alternative interventions.
5. Integrate sexual violence prevention into ongoing related efforts
Use Minnesota Summit tools to add sexual violence prevention to workplace and other organizational efforts such as respect campaigns and initiatives to promote healthy families, Internet safety, sustainable communities, and children’s health and wellness.
6. Work with the MN Legislative Caucus to Stop Sexual Violence
This on-going bi-partisan initiative in the Minnesota Legislature began in discussion in 2008. The Legislative Caucus is a forum for legislators to talk as colleagues and develop a strategic perspective about sexual violence prevention policy without an immediate legislative or political issue on the table.
The Minnesota Summit helped link the Legislative Caucus to prevention efforts and interests statewide and to focus their deliberations on prevention and state policy.
- Co-chairs Representative Erin Murphy and Senator Katie Sieben addressed The Minnesota Summit. 15 legislators and legislative staff members attended the Summit.
- The Legislative Caucus held their Annual Session Seminar on February 5, 2010. Eric Janus, Dean of the William Mitchell College of Law and featured speaker at The Minnesota Summit, addressed the Caucus. 24 legislators and staff attended the caucus’s annual seminar.
- As a result of his presentation to the Caucus, Janus has been invited to make presentations before health and public safety committees in the legislature. He has also been contacted by local reporters and columnists. MNCASA is supporting the media relations activity to help engage members in the Caucus and to provide background information about other prevention initiatives that are being considered by the legislature.
- Attendees indicated an interest in learning more about predictive factors of violent sexual behavior. MNCASA will work with the legislators who are serving as the Caucus conveners to share this information with Caucus members through the coming year, culminating in the 2011 Caucus seminar focusing on this topic.
7. Explore Establishment of a Prevention Fund
According to Costs of Sexual Violence in Minnesota, sexual violence costs the state $8 billion annually. At present, there are no state dollars specifically allocated for sexual violence prevention. However, prevention makes good economic sense, and a Prevention Fund would allow corporations, foundations, and others to contribute to the state’s sexual violence prevention actions.
Ideas generated at the Summit about how to secure funding for prevention:
- Target 1% of funding designated to support prison budgets to a Prevention Fund, much as the “art in public buildings fund” was structured.
- Minnesota businesses have a tradition of donating between 2-5% of pre-tax earnings to address community needs (The Keystone program, the 5% Club), a tradition often cited as a foundation for Minnesota’s quality of life. Establish a tradition of a commitment of pre-tax earning to support sexual violence prevention.
- Design an initiative to encourage Minnesota businesses to designate a percentage of earnings from a given product for SV prevention. (The Body Shop and Tavern on the Green are examples of businesses that have designated profits from specific products to related social causes.)
- Set aside a percentage of license plate fees or proceeds from civil actions.
- Devise a system for citizens, corporations, and nonprofits to contribute to a Prevention Fund.
8. Facilitate community organizing through MNCASA member programs, MN-MAN and Minnesota Department of Health’s Action Teams
Help communities use the energy generated by The Minnesota Summit to fuel local initiatives. Strengthen partnerships with local agencies to increase their capacity to further prevention in their communities.
On Feb 24, 2010, MNCASA will host a Webinar to present the findings in The Minnesota Summit to Prevent Sexual Violence E-Report to member programs, showcase current local initiatives, and provide resources.
- Build on County initiatives such as those underway in Ramsey, Olmsted, and Winona counties.
- Provide ongoing information, training, tools and resources at www.mncasa.org.
9. Articulate challenges between respecting First Amendment expression and countering harmful factors that feed sexual violence and obstruct prevention efforts
While protection of free speech is critical to human rights and social change, free speech arguments have been used to block strategies to address the negative impact from violent and degrading legal adult pornography. Strategies include meetings with key stakeholders to discuss the ways to protect First Amendment rights while advancing sexual violence prevention and developing talking points to help advocates improve the quality of discussion relative to these issues.
10. Follow up with regular outreach to and contact with media across the state.
- Maintain an updated media contact list to build on established contacts.
- Build media coverage of prevention efforts into overall planning. Future progress, plans and goals achieved should be viewed as opportunities for media coverage. As strategies and initiatives are put in place in all areas, a corresponding media plan should be in place.
- Be alert to opportunities. Every news story about an act of sexual violence is an opportunity to reach out to the media with prevention ideas and articulate the work of MNCASA, MDH and the Summit.
- Pay attention to which reporters and columnists cover issues of sexual violence. Be intentional about getting them prevention information and contacts.
- Use existing media coverage to carry the message forward. Published opinion pieces can be useful tools in outreach and cultivation of new prevention champions. The newspaper editorials about The Summit should be used and/or referenced in future dealings with members of the legislature and state agencies.
Organizers of The Minnesota Summit and other prevention champions statewide will continue to work across sectors to advance and fund prevention actions in Minnesota.
Watch MNCASA’s website for updates on specific organizational practices, policies and strategies that have been indentified or implemented. We encourage you to send your ideas and practices to www.mncasa.org so others can learn from your work.
The Minnesota Summit E-Report is an evolving report. Check back for updates on advancements in prevention and new resources.
For more information please contact:
Donna Dunn, Executive Director, MNCASA, 651-209-9993 x 201; firstname.lastname@example.org
Cordelia Anderson, Sensibilities, Inc. and Prevention Consultant-MNCASA 612-824-6217; email@example.com