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Safe Harbor: A School-Based Victim Assistance/Violence Prevention Program

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2002
8 pages
Publication Series
After describing Safe Harbor, a promising program that addresses both violence prevention and victim assistance in school settings, this bulletin discusses the demographic and implementation differences in the school sites that are replicating the program and reviews evaluations of the program's effectiveness.
The Safe Harbor program was launched in 1991 by Safe Horizon in New York City. The five core components of the program are designed to help students, faculty, and their families cope with the violence they may confront not only in school, but also at home and on the streets. Because violence happens in multiple contexts and has multiple causes, most violence-prevention experts advise that prevention strategies must address several levels of intervention. The Safe Harbor program focuses on three levels of intervention. The program's attention to the "individual" level pertains to modification of beliefs, attitudes, and norms, so as to help youth develop nonviolent behaviors. A focus on the "interpersonal" level features the enhancement of relationships with peers and family to buffer youth from the effects of exposure to violence; and the "social context" level involves efforts to change aspects of the setting and climate that contribute to violent behavior. The Safe Harbor program components are a victim assistance/violence prevention curriculum that includes 10 core lessons; individual and group counseling that offers additional support to victimized youth; parent involvement and staff training that enhances students' relationships with the adults in their lives; structured group activities that include group discussion and skill-building sessions to promote positive peer relationships; and a schoolwide antiviolence campaign that aims to build a cohesive culture of nonviolence in the school and provide youth with opportunities for leadership. A summary of the program's replications encompasses the years 1997-98 and 1998-2000. Seven replication programs are briefly described. Problems experienced by replication sites are reviewed. Evaluations of some of the Safe Harbor programs have shown that participants' behaviors and attitudes that promote nonviolence have developed and been reinforced. 1 reference

Date Published: December 1, 2002