Policy provides a set of rules to guide the activities of government or organizations. By mandating what is expected or required, policies can foster behavior change that can impact social norms. While policy is usually advanced at the state and federal levels, effective local level policy is integral to the success of prevention initiatives.

This video illustrates how important policy work is in comprehensive prevention strategy. Prevention Institute's Executive Director Larry Cohen discusses the history of anti-smoking efforts, and how he helped guide a new approach that has resulted in policy and legislative changes. Mr. Cohen demonstrates how banning smoking in public places, promoting healthy eating and preventing violence, can result in healthier, happier communities.

Examples of Successful Statewide Education Policy Change

North Dakota

In 2011, North Dakota passed legislation (HB 1465) mandating that every school district in the state develop and implement a bullying policy to establish reporting and documentation of alleged bullying, reprisal and retaliation acts. The procedures must allow for anonymous reporting, and also establish procedures and timelines for action by school district staff, notification of law enforcement (in case of a suspected crime) and for document retention. Strategies to protect victims, guidelines for disciplining responsible individuals, and for those generating false reports, are also required.

In implementation the policy must:

Example of Successful County Level Work

In Winona County, Minnesota a “Clean Hotels” policy was adapted. The policy dictates that whenever possible, any County paid lodging, meeting rooms and conferences will be held at hotels that do not offer in-room adult pay-per-view pornography. Model policies, recommendations and related documents are available for download and can be tailored for an organization, county, or statewide level proposal. For more information see the Men as Peacemakers website.

As you are considering a Clean Hotels initiative, a good first step would be to complete a community readiness assessment. A protocol tailored to this initiative was can be found here.

The Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence developed a fact sheet on Clean Hotels covering the basics that may be helpful in developing your own campaign. It can be found here.