For the first time the triennial LeeShore Center’s Community Survey will include questions directed at gauging awareness of the Green Dot Violence Prevention Strategy on the Kenai Peninsula Borough.
While implementation of Green Dot won’t begin until April, asking the community now will show exactly how much progress will be made over the next three years, said Cheri Smith, executive director of the LeeShore Center.
The program uses the premise that any one has the power to intervene in a potentially violent situation, whether by calling the police or simply speaking up, Smith said.
Kenai was one of six areas chosen to develop a specialized program for its community. Others include Anchorage, Bethel, Fairbanks, Homer, and Prince of Wales Island (Klawock, Hydaburg, and Craig), according to the Office of Governor Sean Parnell.
Once the survey period ends on March 31, Smith will review the results to determine what aspects of outreach to focus over the next three years, she said.
“Are people becoming more aware? Is what we’re doing working?” are questions Smith said she hopes to answer from the results.
Of the 450 residents that took the 2011 survey, 90 percent thought domestic and sexual violence was a problem in the Kenai community, Smith said. Half the people surveyed reported they had experienced abuse at some point in their life, she said.
More than 90 percent thought the LeeShore services were “very impactful to essential,” Smith said. Seventy-seven percent felt the center’s outreach was effective.
During the last fiscal year LeeShore provided emergency shelter for 155 women and children, Smith said. It provided walk-in services to 457 individuals and took 831 crisis calls. The center also made a staggering 6,500 safety checks to those in need, she said.
Smith said the most recent survey found people were generally unaware of LeeShore’s Youth outreach programs. Last year LeeShore presented information at 155 schools across the Peninsula reaching 3,000 students, she said.
“Violence prevention for youth is critical to stop the cycle,” Smith said. It is understood nationwide that domestic abuse is a learned behavior, she said. Making sure parents also know these facts is equally important, she said.
The survey is still mainly composed of questions developed 12 years ago directed at understanding where LeeShore fits in with the community, Smith said.
According to the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Justice Center, the 2013 Alaska Victimization Survey for the Kenai Peninsula Borough, released on Oct. 10, 2013 in Kenai found “52 percent of adult women in the Kenai Peninsula Borough have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual violence or both, in their lifetime.”
The community survey can be taken at the LeeShore Center, and is open to everyone.
Reach Kelly Sullivan at email@example.com.