How do we address violence within our communities?
We are told to call the police and rely on the criminal justice system to address violence within our communities. However, if police and prisons facilitate or perpetrate violence against us rather than increase our safety, how do we create strategies to address violence within our communities, including domestic violence, sexual violence, and child abuse, that don’t rely on police or prisons?
Developing community-based responses to violence is one critical option. Community accountability is a community-based strategy, rather than a police/prison-based strategy, to address violence within our communities. Community accountability is a process in which a community – a group of friends, a family, a church, a workplace, an apartment complex, a neighborhood, etc – work together to do the following things:
- Create and affirm values & practices that resist abuse and oppression and encourage safety, support, and accountability
- Develop sustainable strategies to address community members’ abusive behavior, creating a process for them to account for their actions and transform their behavior
- Commit to ongoing development of all members of the community, and the community itself, to transform the political conditions that reinforce oppression and violence
- Provide safety & support to community members who are violently targeted that respects their self-determination
To learn more about violence against women of color and concrete strategies for community accountability, check out these resources:
- Videos from the April 2019 Building Accountable Communities National Gathering.
- TransformHarm.org – A Resource Hub
- Fumbling Toward Repairis a community accountability workbook for facilitators, by Mariame Kaba and Shira Hassan
- Resources for Organizing
- Community Accountability Resource Website
- Community Accountability: Emerging Movements to Transform Violence (Social Justice Journal)
- Creative Interventions Toolkit: A Practical Guide to Stopping Interpersonal Violence
- Storytelling & Organizing Project
- Violence against Women of Color
- Community Accountability Fact Sheet from our project to Stop Law Enforcement Violence Against Women of Color and Trans People of Color