Attract Attention to Your Issue

How do we generate publicity for our campaign?

Before your CAT can persuade community members and community leaders to take action to end domestic violence and dating violence, you will first need to attract attention to your issue and activities. Generating publicity can be as simple as posting flyers on telephone poles, bulletin boards and in shop windows, or as sophisticated as staging a press conference for local journalists, reporters and broadcasters. It could even involve hosting a public forum with a panel of speakers including domestic violence advocates, faith community leaders, school district personnel, police chiefs, local lawmakers and other city officials. Both single events and longer-term campaigns require advance planning and coordination of effort among team members. Building relationships with the local media and crafting media messages that clearly communicate the CAT's purpose and agenda are powerful ways to boost the CAT's visibility in the community and the public's awareness of domestic violence prevention activities.

A range of different local incidents or conditions can serve as a catalyst for mobilizing public awareness and community action. These might include: a history of poor police response to domestic violence calls in the community, an incident of rape, a series of sexual harassment or stalking events, or even the murder of a woman or teenager by her spouse or former partner. Sometimes, positive events can serve as catalysts for publicity. Examples might include releasing thousands of helium balloons at a public event to honor the women who have escaped domestic violence, or hosting a "poetry slam" against teen dating violence. 

Alternatively, a CAT can generate its own story for mobilizing public awareness of the need to prevent violent or tragic incidents in several different ways: 

  • Using "This Offends Me" postcards and letter writing campaigns to protest the use of violent and sexist advertising in local newspapers, stores or even national magazines.
  • Monitoring media coverage of domestic violence incidents in the local community and writing op-eds to counter inaccurate or inadequate portrayals of these incidents.
  • Staging a press conference to announce positive gains in violence prevention achieved by the local domestic violence agency and law enforcement officials.

The Tips & Tools included in this module include a case study example of a CAT media campaign, a set of tips for generating publicity, a sample press kit and a set of media "how-to's" from the 2001 Domestic Violence Awareness Month packet distributed by the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.