How Does a Community Prevent Domestic Violence? Springfield Tests One Hypothesis

Harmony House is the largest domestic violence shelter in the area, and it’s operating at full capacity. In fact, it’s one of hundreds of shelters across Missouri that have to turn women and children away regularly because there’s no room.

Rodney Dwyer, the executive director there, says a stronger relationship between Harmony House and the police department might mean that perpetrators can be prosecuted more quickly and victims can get help sooner.

Dwyer says that there’s one tool that’s particularly effective in preventing domestic violence in any community:  awareness.

“Harmony House specifically is looking at doing a dating abuse awareness campaign; trying to get the message out to younger people…where we’re trying to help people realize what a healthy relationship might look like, how a young person might identify warning signs of an abusive relationship so that they can get out of that situation before it gets to the abusive point,” Dwyer says.

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