Project HELP Community Awareness Activities Program – The goal of community awareness is to increase the community’s knowledge of the available programs and services offered. This is accomplished by informing the general public through various activities.
- Activities are targeted to include under served communities and diverse populations in our county. The 24 community awareness activities focus on all our programs and services unless we are asked to speak on individual programs.
- Community networking promotes community awareness of program services and availability by networking with professionals and leaders in the community.
- Developing, building and maintaining Response Teams, which include representatives from victim advocacy, law enforcement, prosecution and healthcare.
- Joining community-based collaborations (e.g., disaster preparedness committees, social service consortiums,)
- Communicating regularly with staff at local social service agencies, hospital emergency room, law enforcement, state attorney, clerk of court and non-certified victim advocates
- Visiting local businesses and dropping off sexual violence materials, event flyers and brochures
- Joining local groups and sharing information
- Collaboration with other agencies
- “Training” refers to education about available programs/services that are provided to professional and non-professional audiences.
- Trainers must be competent in the following content areas:
- Dynamics of each of our programs and all services that we offer
- Relevant community resources
- Crisis intervention
- Medical, criminal justice/legal and social service victim response
- Social service agencies and organizations
- Educational institutions, including daycare centers
- Healthcare facilities
- Law enforcement agencies
- Youth organizations
- Legal – (e.g.. legal associations, clerk-of-court or prosecutors)
- Clubs (e.g., League, Kiwanis, Rotary, Senior Center, LGBTQ, 4-H)
- Local businesses (e.g., provide sexual violence training to employees)
- Churches (e.g., provide training to congregations and/or religious leaders)
Program staff are involved in events throughout the community. Participation in community events often includes a table with promotional and informational items containing (at minimum) program names and hotline number, program materials and program brochures. Examples of community events:
- Community celebrations
- Social service outreach (career day open house)
- School events (sports events or campus clubs/activities>
- Sexual Assault Awareness Month activities/li>
Getting the word out will increase community awareness of programs and available services. Things to consider for public speaking:
- Keep an agency speakers bureau – the list should include advocacy core trained staff and volunteers with public speaking experience, their areas of specialization and general availability
- Advertise your availability to speak on the topic of sexual violence
- Call potential sponsors for speaking engagements
- Seek opportunities to speak at community events
- Set up interviews for local television and radio programs
- Submit workshop proposals for conferences
Programs should routinely distribute program materials to local businesses, churches, social service agencies, hospitals, law enforcement, court and legal personnel, clubs, schools and civic organizations. Things to consider:
- Materials should include information about all available programs as well as defined programs best suited for visit. Include on materials hotline and office telephone numbers, hours and location of services and website address.
- The community should be informed of materials that are available for distribution and a mechanism established to request material
- Drop off materials at local businesses (e.g., hotline tear off sheets, event flyers, program brochures)
- Contact law enforcement on a regular basis to check on the status of the “Victim Rights and Services” brochure. Responding officers are required to give the brochure to victims
- Develop materials that will be accessible to all members of your community
Information technology is a means of sharing sexual violence materials and program services with the community. Site-based libraries, web-based resources and links and community-based libraries are all sources for resource sharing. Suggestions for resource libraries and sharing include:
- Maintain a resource library that contains up-to-date books, manuals, DVDs and training materials
- Advertise availability of agency-based resource library to the general public and/or local professionals
- Host a reading group
- Host a movie night
- Develop your agency website to include program specific resources that can be downloaded or links to resources
Media provides a cost-effective means of advertising. Plan events to include media coverage.
Use local media that reaches diverse populations within your service area; for example: rural, African American, Latina, migrant, LGBTQ or the elderly. Invite minority owned news outlets (newspaper, radio, television) to cover your events. Include coverage in language(s) that will reach all members of your community.
- Public Service Announcements on local television and radio stations
- Local media/newspapers – invite the news to cover program events such as Sexual Assault Awareness Month activities or fundraisers
- Social media – spread the news of your services through an agency Facebook page and/or Twitter account to keep professionals in your community up-to-date and informed on issues related to your program and sexual violence
- Agency website and blogs
Advertising program services and the hotline number should be included in agency advertising and materials as well as ways to inform hard-to-reach populations such as the mentally ill, homeless, substance abusers and sex workers of the available programs and services. Examples of ways to advertise:
- Listed on the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Website
- Listed on the Collier County Elder Brochure
- Membership outlets (e.g., local newsletters for seniors, LGBTQ, minority or women’s organizations)
- Newspaper ads
- Television and radio ads or PSAs