The Atlantic Summer Institute (ASI)
The ASI is a unique learning and training event for the many people working to create healthier and safer communities in Atlantic Canada.
Crime prevention and illness and injury prevention have many common elements.
“Research has shown that social and economic exclusion, family breakdown, unemployment, substance abuse, lack of life skills, neglect, abuse, racism, low literacy and oppression are factors known to contribute to crime and poverty (referred to as the ‘root causes of crime’) also lead to poor health.”
[(Ellsworth, J., 2003) from the ASI Project proposal, January 2005]
The ASI provides an opportunity to explore these common elements and to make the links between health promotion and social development as strategies to address the root causes of crime/social determinants of health.
At the Atlantic Summer Institute participants:
- network with like-minded people
- examine models of best practice
- share knowledge
- learn new skills
- identify effective policies and practices across sectors
- learn how to work together with other sectors to create the conditions for healthier and safer communities.
The many people working to create healthier and safer communities include researchers, policy and program developers, practitioners and community leaders from health, justice, education, recreation, social and economic development and the community.
|Atlantic Summer Institute – Goal: To make the links between social development, crime prevention and health promotion among diverse sectors working together toward healthier and safer communities.|
ASI Provincial Network – Newfoundland and Labrador
The Atlantic Summer Institute provides a forum to develop capacity to address the social determinants/root causes of crime throughout the Atlantic Region. The ASI evaluation shows that the information, knowledge and skills from the ASI are worth sharing. The formation of ASI Provincial Networks in the four Atlantic provinces will provide a means for wider consultation, information sharing and post-Institute follow-up. The Provincial Networks will build on the relationships established at the 2004/2005 ASI and will expand to include more or new representatives from diverse sectors and populations to expand the reach and the relevance of the Atlantic Summer Institute.
The Provincial Networks will provide an opportunity for participants to:
- connect with more people from various sectors
- share information about programs, policies and approaches
- identify opportunities for working together on initiatives (policies, programs, projects) which address the root causes of crime/social determinants of health
- provide feedback on previous ASI
- provide input for planning a relevant program for the ASI and
- follow-up on recommendations for action on policies and programs which address the root causes of crime/social determinants of health that emerge from the ASI.
The Provincial Network will meet at least twice a year for the three years of the project (2005 – 2008) through conference call or face-to-face. Funding to support the Provincial Network is provided through the Population Health Fund, Public Health Agency of Canada.
Coordination and support for the Provincial Network will be provided by the ASI Coordinator (the Quaich Inc, PEI), a Provincial Convenor (ASI Advisory Committee member) and a Provincial Coordinator through CHPNA.
To facilitate communication between meetings and to connect with people who cannot attend the network meetings, there will be collaboration with CHPNA using its website, listserv and discussion board capabilities.
To ensure the project is meeting the objectives a participatory approach will be used and will include: key informant interviews with convenors and coordinators, reflective discussion during the post-Institute meetings of the Provincial Networks and a review of project records on a yearly basis.
Data will be gathered on process (whether people felt included and satisfied) and outcomes (whether the networks had an impact on the ASI program; whether collaborative action occurred following the ASI; whether information on the social determinants was disseminated through the networks).
To ensure the proposed Provincial Networks are representative of sectors that have the responsibility for the determinants of health/root causes of crime, facilitate discussion on the common elements and strategies and plan for action on the determinants that affect health and safety, the project will adopt the Circle of Health as a guiding framework.
Provincial Convenor – Linda Carter
CHPNA Provincial Coordinator – Lisa Pike
Provincial Convenor – Chris Morrissey
Crime prevention through social development is a pro-active approach that aims to prevent crime by addressing the social and economic factors that lead to crime. These factors or a combination of these factors are commonly referred to as risk factors or the root causes of crime.
Some examples include:
- family stress
- physical and sexual abuse
- alcohol and drug abuse
- poor living conditions
- early childhood experiences
- low education – illiteracy
|The National Crime Prevention Strategy is based on the principle that the surest way to reduce crime is to focus on the factors that put individuals at risk – factors like family violence, school problems and drug abuse. It aims to reduce crime and victimization by tackling crime before it happens.|
Social development provides a comprehensive approach to crime prevention. It works with, but also makes connections beyond the traditional criminal justice sector (police, courts and corrections) by recognizing the important role that policies, programs, and services such as social housing, education, health, income security and social services play in preventing crime.
The social development approach works with individuals, families and communities to provide them with the tools, knowledge and support they need to deal with the root causes of crime at a local level.
Examples of broad-based approaches include:
- Individual support services involve enriched pre-school programs and incentive programs for youth to complete school
- Family – oriented strategies include prenatal support, programs to enhance parenting skills and create healthy environments where children are nurtured.
- Community strategies seek to strengthen local capacity to prevent crime such as community outreach programs, peer support and mentoring programs, recreation programs for at risk youth and neighbourhood coalitions.
Websites for additional information
- The National Crime Prevention Strategy
Health Promotion is the process of enabling people to take control over, and to improve their health. It is not a stand alone program. It is the way we think about and take action on health matters. All health programs, activities and resources must have the goal of developing the capacity of individuals, groups and communities to deal effectively with life’s circumstances and challenges (WHO 1984).
The Population Health Approach recognizes there are a broad range of social, economic and physical environment factors that interact and contribute to overall health; many of these factors fall outside the health care system /sector and significantly affect health.
These factors are commonly referred to as the determinants of health:
- Income and social
- Education and literacy
- Social support networks
- Employment and working conditions
- Social environments
- Personal health practices and coping
- Biology and genetics
- Healthy Child development
- Health Services
The goal of the population health approach is to improve the health of all Canadians. As an approach it provides tools for modeling and monitoring large populations and focus on the Determinants of Health.
Population health builds on health promotion but doesn’t replace it. While population health tells us what to work on (the determinants of health) health promotion tells us how do so.
Adapted from Guess What?!, Health Promotion Atlantic Vol. 4, No.2 July 1998 and The Circle of Health.
Health Promotion Strategies:
We can improve our health when we use a combination of strategies. We make Health promotion happen when we:
- Build healthy public policy – make public laws and rules that keep health in mind.
- Create supportive environments – create safe and satisfying environments in which to live, work and play.
- Strengthen community action – encourage people to get involved and take action in decisions that affect their community’s health.
- Develop personal skills – provide support, education and information to help people build skills and make healthy choices.
- Re-orient health services – create services which change the focus from illness to wellness.
[ Canadian Health Promotion Network Atlantic website ]
There are many common elements, similar risk factors and approaches. The ASI and the NL Provincial Network provides an opportunity to build partnerships, collaborate on joint initiatives and learn from each others skills and practices.
|Based on the needs assessment conducted in 2003 the ASI Advisory Committee recommended ‘that an Atlantic Summer Institute build on the awareness of and action around the social determinants of crime and health, bridging the divide between the two fields and addressing the challenges and opportunities to taking collective action.’ (ASI Project Proposal, January 2005)|
Risk Factors/Root Causes of Crime
- inadequate living conditions, such as poor housing and unstable situations;
- family factors, such as family poverty, family size, poor or inadequate parenting, parental criminality, and parental substance abuse;
- individual personality and behavioural factors, such as “cognitive deficits” including a lack of problem- solving skills, self-control, critical reasoning, judgment and failure to consider the consequences of behaviour, hyperactivity, as well as the early onset of aggressive behaviour;
- peer association, such as relationships with friends who follow a delinquent/criminal lifestyle;
- school-related factors, such as poor educational achievement and truancy, as well as deficient school environments, and exclusionary policies;
- employment opportunities, such as a lack of training and employment.
[ Reference: Fact Sheet: Crime Prevention through Social Development. Archive, Virtual Library, Publications. http://www.psepc-sppcc.ca ]
Risk factors and crime/Root causes of crime:
- Gender – males more likely to offend than females
- Age – age is associated with criminal activity. youth (12 – 17) are over-represented in both property and violent offender populations and young adults (18 – 34) account for the greatest proportion of offenders.
- Poverty – poverty is a significant risk factors for criminal activity. The socioeconomic difficulties faced by those living in poverty may increase the likelihood that an individual will become involved in criminal activity.
- Culture – certain ethnic or racial groups are more likely to be affected by poverty and as a result are over-represented in the offender population
- Early childhood experiences – certain groups of children (ie Aboriginal) who experience greater hardships and disadvantages than other groups of children contribute to an individual’s chance of offending
[ http://www.johnhoward.ab.ca/PUB/C5 ]
The Determinants of Health
The Determinants of Health reflect the entire range of individual and collective factors and conditions, and their interactions, that have been shown to contribute to health status. These factors are commonly referred to as the determinants of health:
- Income and social status – poor people are less healthy than rich people. People are healthiest when they live in a society that can afford to meet everyone’s basic needs.
- Education and literacy – low literacy skills are linked with poor health. The more education we have the more likely we are to be healthy
- Social support networks – support from family, friends and community is linked to better health. People need to feel connected to a community in order to be healthy
- Employment and working conditions – unemployment is linked with poor health. And people who have jobs are healthier when they have more control over their working conditions
- Social environments – A supportive environment influences the health of individuals and communities. It is seen in the structure of a community, the participation of the people in a community and the informal structures created to share resources and build attachment with others.
- Physical environments – our health is affected by the physical environment in which we live. To be healthy, people need a safe and healthy environment: clean air, and water, suitable housing, safe communities
- Personal health practices and coping skills – many of our common health problems are linked to our personal practices such as eating healthy, not smoking, and being physically active. Coping skills help us deal with daily events and build strong relationships.
- Biology and genetics – the physical characteristics we inherit affect our health and play a part in how long we live, how healthy we will be and how likely we are to get certain illnesses.
- Gender – whether a person is male or female affects their health. They different life expectancies and get different conditions ar different ages.
- Culture – people’s backgrounds, customs, traditions and beliefs affect health.
- Healthy child development – health throughout a person’s life is affected by the care and experiences they receive early in life.
- Health services – people’s health is affected by the access they have to health and medical services that prevent, maintain and promote health.
Prince Edward Island, Health and Community Services Agency. (1996, 2003). Circle of Health: Prince Edward Island’s health promotion framework. The Quaich Inc. Charlottetown, PEI.