Health Approach

The public health approach provides a systematic process for understanding and ultimately preventing violence.

It has four steps:

Step One:  Describe the Problem
The first step in preventing violence is to understand it. Grasping the seriousness of the problem involves analyzing data on violence-related behaviors, injuries and deaths from reputable sources. Data can provide valuable insight into how often violence occurs, where it occurs, and who is most affected.

Step Two:  Identify Risk and Protective Factors
It is not enough to simply describe the problem. It is important to understand what factors protect people or put them at risk for experiencing violence as a victim or a perpetrator. Risk and protective factors help program planners decide where to best focus prevention efforts.

Step Three: Develop and Test Prevention Strategies
Program planners are encouraged to use evidence when developing their prevention efforts. This includes incorporating research data and findings from needs assessments, community surveys, and stakeholder interviews into their program. Once a program has been developed and implemented, it should be rigorously evaluated to determine if it is effective – that is, if it reduces or prevents violence.

Step Four: Assure Widespread Adoption
Once there is evidence that a program is working, it can be more broadly disseminated. Other organizations and communities can adapt the program to meet their own needs and follow-up with an evaluation. Widespread adoption of a program may require additional training, education, networking, mentoring and process evaluation.

(Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – CDC)