Community ownership of coordinated community responses to intimate partner violence
Cox, Pamela Jean
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This qualitative study examines the perspectives of community insiders’ regarding community ownership of local coalitions that address intimate partner violence where these local coalitions were initiated and always controlled by community members. In many professional circles these local coalitions are referred to as coordinated community responses or CCRs. Data collection consisted of group and individual interviews, archival data, and observations of local coalition meetings. Nine participants were interviewed. Six of these participants were members of three separate local coalitions, while the other three were staff members of the state domestic violence coalition’s program that promoted the development of local coalitions. Findings include five stakeholder roles that described who owned the coalition and to what extent, one prerequisite for being considered part of the community, four ownership actions that described how ownership was demonstrated, and a staged model that described how individuals develop community ownership of a local coalition. A theoretical analysis of stakeholder roles and ownership actions was conducted using Foucault’s work on power relations. This theoretical analysis revealed that stakeholder roles and ownership actions were intended to be a method for restructuring power relations that have supported or condoned intimate partner violence by individuals and institutions. The stakeholder roles and ownership actions identified in this study correspond with and expand current conceptualizations of community ownership. The staged model includes six stages and two processes that influenced movement through these stages. The six stages were rejection/resistance, skepticism, interest, excitement, willingness, and involvement. The two influential processes were trust and sensitivity to the issue central to the coalition’s mission. This staged model is strikingly similar to the Transtheoretical Model of change. The findings regarding this staged model of individual development of community ownership complements current literature that describes how initiating organizations and coalitions promote community participation and ownership. Stakeholders can be encouraged to pursue individually tailored recruitment and retention strategies that focus on building trust and sensitivity. The findings from this study do not refine the concept of community ownership, but expand it by examining the perspectives of community insiders rather than community outsiders.