Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 05, 2018 (SKNIS): The Ministry of National Security adapted the Cure Violence Health Model into its crime fighting initiatives as a way of ensuring safety and security among communities.
According to cureviolence.org the Cure Violence Health Model uses epidemic control method to reduce violence. Selected members of the community –trusted insiders – are carefully trained to anticipate where violence may occur and intervene before it erupts. Within the model, the entire community is engaged as a means to change behaviour and norms.
Osmond Petty, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, spoke to the three components of the model, namely, detecting and interrupting potential in violent conflicts; identifying and treating highest risk; and mobilizing the community to change norms.
“Detect and interrupt potentially violent conflicts looks at preventing retaliations, mediating ongoing conflicts and trying to keep conflicts cool. It talks about identifying and treating the highest risk, that is, access to the highest at risk youth or anybody in the community who are at risk and changing behaviours and providing treatments,” said the permanent secretary. “Finally and very important is to mobilize the community to change. We speak about if there is a shooting or some security-related event we respond to it. We organize the community, and also very important, we spread positive norms throughout the community.”
According to Mr. Petty, the model has been introduced in other parts of the world and is not exclusive to St. Kitts and Nevis. The Cure Violence Model has been successfully reproduced in places such as New York City, Chicago and New Orleans, as well as San Pedro Sula, Honduras; Cape Town, South Africa; and Juarez City, Mexico, just to name a few.
The model is said to be more effective and cost saving to treat drug addiction as a health issue than to punish it. Information from cureviolence.org states that it makes more sense to prevent events, provide treatment for people at high risk, and change social norms. Like all potentially harmful behaviors – drug addiction, smoking, eating too much, exercising too little, risky sexual behavior and other behaviors – violent behavior can be understood, diagnosed, and treated through a health lens.