In 1989 the World Health Organization (WHO), Department of Violence and Injury Prevention, gathered experts in safety and injury prevention in Stockholm to discuss community based safety and injury prevention. Karolinska Institutet presented its experiences beginning in 1975 in Falkoping, Sweden, of working with all stakeholders lead by the mayor addressed injury prevention and safety promotion for all ages, genders, in all situations. This success and others achieved lead to the WHO to sign an agreement with Karolinska Intitutet’s Department of Public Health ? Division of Community Safety Promotion to become a Collaborating Centre for the development and research on Community Safety Promotion (WHO CC CSP), with Professor Leif Svanstrom as Director. This agreement has been renewed every four years.
In its efforts to promote and replicate the successes in Sweden, the WHO CC CSP developed indicators for Communities to be named International Safe Communities under the auspices of the WHO CC CSP. This movement became known as the International Safe Community Movement.
In 2001, at an annual global meeting on International Safe Communities supported by the WHO and WHO CC CSP, an open discussion for whether the movement ought to have sub-group designations, such as Safe Schools, Safe Sports, etc. During the meeting, Max Vosskuhler and others championed the cause for Safe Schools as a nucleus of communities and education with its own governance system would be an appropriate beginning. Max Vosskuhler and Ellen Schmidt were charged with gathering research for the viability of Safe Schools and reasons for it to be presented at the next Safe Community Meeting in 2002. After their presentation, it was decided that Safe Schools would be the model for sub-designations with Max Vosskuhler’s Peaceful Resources Center (PRC) being the lead organization. Two weeks later at the biennial WHO VIP conference in Montreal, a meeting was set where 72 researchers came together to help edit the Safe Community indicators to those for schools and began the process of developing the International Safe Schools Designation Program (ISS) in collaboration with the WHO CC CSP. In 2003 the first school was designated under the indicators in Gotene, Sweden that had been following the process of ISC for the previous 10 years. After working in concert for 5 years, Peaceful Resources Center applied to become an Affiliate Support Centre of the WHO CC CSP. This was accepted. Rather than being responsible for a geographic area for the support of Safe Community development, PRC became the first Affiliate Support Center responsible for a sub-designation program, i.e. ISS.
This tiered relationship between WHO, WHO CC CSP, ISC and ISS maintains quality and consistency across the programs and helps realize the goals that schools can be the starting place for ISC and in existing ISC’s the schools can be designated proving strong success at the school level from Pre-K through University.