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COMMUNITY SAFETY
  1. Jan Shield

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    A strategic approach to community safety

    One of the workshops at the Injury Prevention and Control 2001 conference held in Warrnambool in Victoria, Australia, considered the theme “Developing an integrated approach to community safety”. After six excellent presentations and lively discussion, a final question was put to the assembled gathering: “What would it take to achieve an Australasian strategic approach to community safety?” Here is a sample of the responses:

    At the macro level

    • Coordinate policy

    • Make explicit statements of expectations

    • Establish an Australasian clearinghouse and a steering body

    • Commit financial support

    • Gain support to promote the WHO model

    • Achieve tangible recognition of community safety as a priority

    • Develop a network of champions

    • Achieve recognition of community safety as a discrete discipline

    • Achieve recognition of injury as a population level problem

    At the political level

    • Achieve political commitment at the highest levels

    • Educate politicians

    • Develop political sophistication

    At the local or community level

    • Develop strong local networks

    • Cross pollinate ideas between agencies and LGAs

    • Create and maintain the community's interest (the “sparkle” factor)

    • Change the community's mindset regarding preventability

    • Remove the blame mentality

    • Develop effective methods of community consultation

    • Develop plans to market outcomes at community level

    • Run Community Safety Week 52 weeks a year

    At the professional level

    • Provide professional development for community safety workers

    • Integrate community safety outcome measures into all job descriptions

    • Facilitate an understanding of injury causation

    • Provide cost-benefit analyses of interventions

    • Develop a sound evidence base

    • Produce a dictionary of injury terms

    These are both thoughtful and thought provoking, and reflect how far the community safety segment of the injury prevention and control profession has progressed in the last decade. Long may the exciting dialogue continue, but I also offer a plea to take some of these suggestions forward into a national strategic plan and an action plan before we convene again in Perth in 2003.

    Jan Shield, October 2001

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