Violence Prevention Strategies

PVNC Strategies Key Takeaways

Strategies that focus on broad cultural and structural change at the community and societal levels will have greater impact over time and can serve to sustain the results of strategies aimed at individual and interpersonal transformation.

The level of the social ecology a strategy operates on can change depending on the specific contextual details of its implementation.

Part of the PVNC logo which shows a dark blue sprig of honeysuckle vine growing in front of a partially-constructed brick wall that is a soothing light-blue.Social Ecology is a term used in public health to describe social influences that occur among different sized groups of people.

Each societal group is called a different “level” in the social ecology. Going from largest to smallest, they are:

Outline of a dark purple circle with white background, inside is a drawing of a building with a car driving in front of it and green pine trees in the background. This icon symbolizes the Societal Level of the Social Ecological Model, explained elsewhere on the site.Societal Level

Outline of a dark purple circle with white background, inside is a drawing of the silhouettes of six people clustered together.  This icon symbolizes the Community Level of the Social Ecological Model, explained elsewhere on the site.Community Level

Outline of a dark purple circle with white background, inside is a drawing of the silhouettes of two people standing together. This icon symbolizes the Interpersonal Level of the Social Ecological Model, explained elsewhere on the site.Interpersonal Level

Outline of a dark purple circle with white background, inside is a line-drawing of silouette of a person standing inside the circle. This icon symbolizes the Individual Level of the Social Ecological Model, explained elsewhere on the site.Individual Level

Some scholars add a broader level, the cultural level, and describe it as a layer that encompasses the institutions and structures of the societal level.

We have labeled each strategy according to the level of the social ecology it is most likely to affect, but this is not a hard-and-fast categorization – there are ways to influence each Key Strength at every level of the social ecology. And - the strategies can be adapted! If you would like support navigating an adaptation of a strategy to shift it toward the community or societal level, please reach out to us via our contact form.

A note about the methods:
The strategies highlighted throughout the Prevent Violence NC website are those that have demonstrated or indicate a likelihood of success changing the prioritized, shared risk and protective factors. These strategies have not necessarily been evaluated for their effectiveness on the prioritized violence outcomes. However, given the research linking the risk and protective factors to the violence outcomes, we have reason to believe that modifying the risk and protective factors will ultimately have an impact on the occurrence of violence.

One goal of Prevent Violence NC is to continue to call attention to areas like this, where more funding is needed to support research and community-level evaluation.


Key Strength: Norms Related to Gender and Power

Levels of the Social Ecology:

Outline of a dark purple circle with white background, inside is a drawing of a building with a car driving in front of it and green pine trees in the background. This icon symbolizes the Societal Level of the Social Ecological Model, explained elsewhere on the site.Societal Outline of a dark purple circle with white background, inside is a drawing of the silhouettes of six people clustered together.  This icon symbolizes the Community Level of the Social Ecological Model, explained elsewhere on the site.Community Outline of a dark purple circle with white background, inside is a drawing of the silhouettes of two people standing together. This icon symbolizes the Interpersonal Level of the Social Ecological Model, explained elsewhere on the site.Interpersonal Outline of a dark purple circle with white background, inside is a line-drawing of silouette of a person standing inside the circle. This icon symbolizes the Individual Level of the Social Ecological Model, explained elsewhere on the site.Individual

Social norms that shape gender roles exist at a cultural and societal level, but they are often taught and enforced at the interpersonal and community levels. For example, children may be teased by peers for showing interest in toys or clothing that don’t align with their assigned gender, and parents often limit the sports or other social activities their children may participate in based on gendered expectations. Educational and communications campaigns function at the interpersonal and community levels, while efforts to increase the number of women in societal decision-making roles operate at the community and societal level. Together, these strategies can begin to shift culture.

For more resources on Norms Related to Gender and Power, visit our Resources section.


Key Strength: Economic Stability & Opportunity

Levels of the Social Ecology:

Outline of a dark purple circle with white background, inside is a drawing of a building with a car driving in front of it and green pine trees in the background. This icon symbolizes the Societal Level of the Social Ecological Model, explained elsewhere on the site.SocietalOutline of a dark purple circle with white background, inside is a drawing of the silhouettes of six people clustered together.  This icon symbolizes the Community Level of the Social Ecological Model, explained elsewhere on the site.Community

Economic Stability and Opportunity can be understood as having enough material resources to provide for your, and your family’s basic needs, and ample, viable opportunities to improve your economic status. In terms of employment, it is having a steady job that pays a living wage or better, and ample opportunity in your neighborhood for everyone who needs such a job to obtain one. The strategies that are used to build this key strength tend to be at the community and societal level of the social ecology. Diminished economic opportunity and high unemployment not only reduce the potential for individual stable employment - but are also linked to greater community disorganization, and lower social cohesion and trust. Research has shown that communities that have been systematically dis-invested from economic resources and opportunities have higher rates of violence.

For more resources on Economic Stability & Opportunity, visit our Resources section.


Key Strength: Community Connectedness

Levels of the Social Ecology:

Outline of a dark purple circle with white background, inside is a drawing of the silhouettes of six people clustered together.  This icon symbolizes the Community Level of the Social Ecological Model, explained elsewhere on the site.Community

Strategies to increase community connectedness most often function at the community level of the social ecology, although wide-scale changes to the built environment at the societal level may also serve to connect community members.

For more resources on Community Connectedness, visit our Resources section.


Key Strength: Positive School Climate and Connectedness

Levels of the Social Ecology:

 Outline of a dark purple circle with white background, inside is a drawing of the silhouettes of six people clustered together.  This icon symbolizes the Community Level of the Social Ecological Model, explained elsewhere on the site.CommunityOutline of a dark purple circle with white background, inside is a drawing of the silhouettes of two people standing together. This icon symbolizes the Interpersonal Level of the Social Ecological Model, explained elsewhere on the site.Interpersonal

School Climate and Connectedness is about creating supportive and welcoming school environments in which students feel engage and cared for by the school personnel and their peers. The strategies that are used to build this key strength tend to be at the interpersonal and community level. Interpersonal strategies can be very important for the development of strong emotional and relationship skills that are important for healthy relationships within the school environment and beyond. However, because there is regular turnover within the school population, the strategies at this level have limited ability to affect school climate and connectedness in a lasting way. Community efforts, such as supportive, school-wide policies and partnerships with community partners that help bolster supports across the community, are the most effective at making sustainable growth towards positive school climate and connectedness.

For more resources on Positive School Climate and Connectedness, visit our Resources section.


Key Strength: Parent-Child Connectedness

Levels of the Social Ecology:

 Outline of a dark purple circle with white background, inside is a drawing of the silhouettes of two people standing together. This icon symbolizes the Interpersonal Level of the Social Ecological Model, explained elsewhere on the site.InterpersonalOutline of a dark purple circle with white background, inside is a line-drawing of silouette of a person standing inside the circle. This icon symbolizes the Individual Level of the Social Ecological Model, explained elsewhere on the site.Individual

Most initiatives to support parent-child connectedness are education or counseling programs working with parents and children at the interpersonal or individual levels. However, some strategies work more broadly to facilitate stronger parent-child positive bonds, such as policies that increase the amount of time working parents have available to spend with their children. In addition, there are strategies that help to build community networks that support families in building safe and supportive home environments.

For more resources on Parent-Child Connectedness, visit our Resources section.


Key Strength: Healthy Social and Emotional Development

Levels of the Social Ecology:

 Outline of a dark purple circle with white background, inside is a drawing of the silhouettes of two people standing together. This icon symbolizes the Interpersonal Level of the Social Ecological Model, explained elsewhere on the site.InterpersonalOutline of a dark purple circle with white background, inside is a line-drawing of silouette of a person standing inside the circle. This icon symbolizes the Individual Level of the Social Ecological Model, explained elsewhere on the site.Individual

Healthy social and emotional development helps individuals manage difficult situations and learn to solve interpersonal problems without engaging in violence. The most common strategies to address this key strength focus on influencing risk and protection at individual and interpersonal levels, but there are also ways to affect this key strength with social policy and community-wide efforts.

Research on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) has shown a correlation between experiencing social-environmental difficulties as a child and numerous health conditions in adulthood. The protective factors that fall under this key strength can be especially challenging to foster when the surrounding environment is unstable, threatening, or traumatizing, and the events that qualify as ACEs occur at much higher rates among communities that have been systematically marginalized. The “Pair of Aces” model depicts the interconnectedness of Adverse Community Environments and Adverse Childhood Experiences, highlighting importance of addressing this Key Strength across all levels of the social ecology as well as in the “groundwater” of structure and culture.

For more resources on Healthy Social and Emotional Development, visit our Resources section.