Close to Home Resource Set
Over the past 15 years, Close to Home has developed a set of core principles for community organizing. These principles and methods are outlined in a series of documents for use and distribution in your own community organizing work.
The future of domestic and sexual violence prevention—and ultimately ending violence—requires paradigms and processes that engage everyone in creating change. We need everyone playing a role and taking responsibility for ending violence in our communities and in the broader society.
The way forward brings us into a new way of being—building relationships, discovering a shared vision, and collectively living that vision today. Doing so effectively reaches deep into our humanity and the social norms that cause violence, which makes the work both challenging and remarkable. It requires great effort and commitment, and accordingly holds the potential to change communities for generations.
In this spirit, the Overview of Close to Home's work sets out to convey the following:
- A rationale for calling on whole communities to lead domestic and sexual violence prevention
- A set of principles that guide community-wide efforts toward creating lasting social change
- An approach for moving as a community through understanding conversation, skill building, and action
- The possibilities when we do so, immediately and into the future
This document is a guide for implementing the Assess phase of the Close to Home approach. The full approach is illustrated below and described in the companion documents Communities Leading Change: An overview of Close to Home’s philosophy and practice for domestic and sexual violence prevention and Tips for Practitioners.
Over 15 years, all of us affiliated with Close to Home developed this approach for engaging whole communities in organizing for domestic and sexual violence prevention. Still used and evolved by groups within the US and beyond, this iterative and cyclical process engages youth and adults; people of all backgrounds; family, friends, and neighbors; professionals and politicians in defining the problem, developing an emergent vision, building collective power and capacity, and creating both personal and political change.
This document has been written specifically for practitioners who want a more intimate understanding of how the Close to Home approach unfolds in communities. Its contents are more conversational than instructional—like sitting down with us over a lunch to glean lessons from each phase of the approach. On the following pages, we will provide a raw and honest portrayal of the realities of this work: the common challenges and surprises, where the work can step outside the model and break the rules, and how to let the process evolve naturally within its context and through community leadership. We will share the high-level thinking, structure, and guideposts for each phase, while identifying the open and undefined spaces where an authentic and transformative journey can unfold.