Partnering with People with Disabilities to Prevent Interpersonal Violence: Organization Practices Grounded in the Social Model of Disability and Spectrum of Prevention

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



The chapter provides a framework for religious organizations to contribute within their communities to prevent interpersonal violence of people with disabilities through collaboration with people with disabilities as equal members of their faith communities. Collaboration with people with disabilities requires moving from a medical model, deficit-based orientation of disability to a social, empowering, and strength-based model. This chapter examines how each model intersects with vulnerability to interpersonal violence. Prevention of interpersonal violence requires an understanding of how multiple factors (knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, policies) and multiple system levels (individual, relationship, community/environmental, societal/cultural) interconnect, influence interpersonal violence, and can be targets for prevention. Prevention of interpersonal violence is examined using the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) public health perspective of primary, secondary, and tertiary intervention (a.k.a. prevention) and using the Prevention Institutes’ Spectrum of Prevention. Strategies for religious organizations to examine and modify organizational teachings, policies, and practices, which aim to prevent interpersonal violence or improve response to interpersonal violence perpetrated against people with disabilities, are grounded in the six-level Spectrum of Prevention. Engagement in each of the levels of prevention is predicated upon religious organizations recognizing their roles and responsibilities in preventing and responding to interpersonal violence of their members with disabilities. Emphasis is placed on coordinated community responses to address interpersonal violence. Given that people of faith may prefer to seek guidance and support from their own places of worship, rather than community-based secular organizations, it is imperative that religious organizations collaborate with other community agencies involved in prevention or response to interpersonal violence and organizations serving people with disabilities.




Social Work

Publication Title

Religion, Disability, and Interpersonal Violence



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