Union County Violence Intervention Plan

To indentify, develop, and foster programs and services that benefit Union County, Arkansas.

The burden of violence is heavy across the United States and Union County, Arkansas is no exception. Past county needs assessments have indicated a rise in violent crime. In 2013, Union County health factors were ranked 35 out of 75 counties. Union county is now ranked 53 (countyhealthrankings.org). Violence is an important issue to public health due to its huge impact on the well-being of individuals and families. Violence reduces productivity and disrupts social services, such as education, medical care, and housing (cdc.gov). Violence can also cause long-term suffering for its survivors, leaving both physical and emotional damage. Concern regarding the rise of violence in the community grew into collaborations between SHARE Foundation and over 200 county residents. Together, stakeholders identified the indirect and direct root causes of crime and developed a plan to address them. From that, the Violence Intervention Plan (VIP) was created.

By forming an alliance committed to reducing violence, SHARE Foundation is determined to create lasting change across Union county. In 2018, coalitions were formed and the Foundation’s Violence Intervention Plan (VIP) was implemented. The VIP focuses on the following six areas that proactively address violence and associated risk behaviors: mentoring and role models, parenting and life skills, jobs and education, re-entry, neighborhood safety, and mental health and substance abuse. Receiving $25,000 would allow the SHARE Foundation to hire a part-time Community Coalition Assistant (CCA) to develop and create community awareness efforts. Under the direction of the Vice President of Community Impact, the CCA will be responsible for coordinating the efforts of 75 coalition stakeholders in order to implement awareness campaigns in each focus area. Together, they will carry out VIP strategies to achieve and sustain a reduction of violence risk factors and behaviors.

SHARE Foundation envisions a day when all of Union county children, adults, and families have the resources and community support they need to succeed. Recognizing risk and protective factors that influence violence laid the ground work for the VIP. Implementing the plan and activating evidence-based strategies will result in targeted outcomes, such as a reduction of school dropout rates, unemployment rates, substance abuse, and domestic violence. The VIP will be a catalyst for change in Union County by providing pathways of success for individuals and families. In early childhood, parents are given tools to raise their children in healthy environments. At-risk children are matched with mentors and teens are learning about the dangers of bullying, alcohol and drug use. Adults are learning life skills that will help them succeed in re-entry, and substance abuse recovery groups are teaching coping skills and conflict resolution. The community has come together like never before!