ION Center making Covington ‘Green Dot City’ to prevent violence

Published: Sep. 24, 2023 at 9:20 PM EDT
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COVINGTON, Ky. (WXIX) - If you’ve seen green dots popping up throughout Covington, it’s because the city is working with officials and businesses to join Maysville as one of the nation’s only Green Dot Cities.

The ION Center works with survivors of power-based personal violence and offers several programs, one of which is Green Dot.

Green Dot is a violence prevention strategy that trains bystanders to step in when they see situations of power-based personal violence happening. It’s also about teaching people to have skills, tools and confidence to be active bystanders.

According to the ION Center, a red dot means a choice somebody makes to hurt somebody else. And a green dot is a choice somebody makes to keep something bad from happening.

A Green Dot City is a city that has close to 20 percent of its population trained in the prevention program.

“We want folks to be prepared in our communities if you see something you actually know what to do and how to do it,” says ION Center CEO, Christy Burch.

The center has worked with several businesses using the Green Dot program, including Covington Yard and Hotel Covington.

For example, Covington Yard has Green Dot signs in the women’s bathroom encouraging someone who feels unsafe to order a certain drink at the bar.

The bartender will then know how to help the person because of the Green Dot program.

“All throughout Covington, you’re gonna see these green dots bots,” Burch explains. “They’ve got a sticker on there that says, ‘Let’s get a green dot,’ and it says ‘Green Dot spot,’ which means they are working to be active bystanders. They’re ready and prepared. If they see something going on. They know how to respond.”

Green Dot teaches you the three Ds: Direct, Delegate and Distract - if you see someone you think might be in a dangerous situation.

“It asks you to do something. It gives you lots of options, which is why I think people can step into it so quickly if the green dot’s on our map,” Burch said.

Burch suggests these ways people can intercede as active bystanders.

“Asking for directions interrupting that situation. Or if you’re at a local big box store and you see a couple fighting or see something happening, you pretend to pull a receipt or $1 out of your wallet and say, ‘Hey, did you drop this?’

Burch also says the program teaches employers and managers how to spot potential issues with their employees.

“It’d be calling 911 - that could be talking to a supervisor or saying, ‘Hey, listen, I’m really concerned about this employee,’” Burch explains.

Additionally, Burch says the center teaches the program in close to a dozen schools in the Tri-State.

According to Burch, the program has excelled.

In our Green Dot high schools, we saw in particular sexual violence come down 17 to 21%,” Burch said.

For more information about what the ION Center does, visit

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