The Cure Violence™ Approach

CVG’s violence prevention public health methodology applies evidence-based public health epidemic-reversal strategies to:

  1. Detect and interrupt (i.e., prevent) potentially violent situations,
  2. Identify and change the thinking and behavior of the highest risk transmitters (i.e., those most likely to engage in violence), and
  3. Change group norms that support and perpetuate the use of violence.

CVG’s method entails analyzing violence clusters and transmission dynamics and uses paraprofessional health workers who are culturally sensitive credible messengers to interrupt transmission and change community norms around the use of violence. This is accomplished by hiring members of the community who have had similar life experiences to those at highest risk of committing acts of violence Staff are trained as community health workers and receive extensive education and coaching in evidence-based methods of mediation, persuasion, behavior change, and norm change — all of which are essential for limiting the spread of outbreaks of violence.

1. Detect and interrupt potentially violent conflicts

Trained violence interrupters and outreach workers prevent shootings by identifying and mediating potentially lethal conflicts in the catchment area, and following up to ensure that the conflict does not reignite. Interrupters and other staff work separate from law enforcement and must remain independent in order to maintain the credibility needed to work those at highest risk.

Prevent Retaliations – Whenever a shooting happens, trained workers immediately work in the community and at the hospital to cool down emotions and prevent retaliations – working with the victims, friends and family of the victim, and anyone else who is connected with the event.

Mediate Ongoing Conflicts – Workers identify ongoing conflicts by talking to key people in the community about ongoing disputes, recent arrests, recent prison releases, and other situations and use mediation techniques to resolve them peacefully.

Keep Conflicts ‘Cool’ – Workers follow up with conflicts for as long as needed, sometimes for months, to ensure that the conflict does not become violent.

2. Identify and change behaviors of people at highest risk

Trained outreach workers implement a culturally-appropriate and trauma-informed approach to reduce the risk of those most likely to commit violence and to promote health equity. Outreach workers meet those at highest risk where they are at, talking to them about the costs of using violence, and helping them to obtain the social services they need – such as job training and drug treatment.

Access Highest Risk – Workers utilize their trust with high-risk individuals to establish contact, develop relationships, begin to work with the people most likely to be involved in violence.

Change Behaviors – Workers engage with high-risk individuals to convince them to reject the use of violence by discussing the cost and consequences of violence and teaching alternative responses to situations.

Case Management – Workers develop a caseload of clients who they work with intensively – seeing clients several times a week and assisting with their needs such as drug treatment, employment, leaving gangs.

3. Mobilize the community to change norms

Workers engage leaders in the community as well as community residents, local business owners, faith leaders, service providers, and the high risk, conveying the message that the residents, groups, and the community do not support the use of violence.

Respond to Every Shooting in Catchment – Whenever a shooting occurs within the Cure Violence catchment area, workers organize a response where dozens of community members voice their objection to the shooting

Organize Community – Workers coordinate with new, existing, and establish block clubs, tenant councils, and neighborhood associations within the catchment area to assist in preventing violence.

Spread Positive Norms – Program distributes materials and hosts events within the catchment area to convey the message that violence is not acceptable.

+ Hospital Response and Follow Up

The Cure Violence™ Hospital Response Program partners with local hospital trauma centers to provide a comprehensive response whenever a gunshot, stabbing, or blunt trauma victim arrives at the hospital. Program staff intervene during the critical window after a violent incident to prevent retaliation and interrupt the cycle of violence. Critically, the Cure Violence™ approach links the hospital with the community, allowing for the urgent prevention of retaliation and follow up with those affected.

For more detail, see this handout.

+ Adaptation to Context and Type of Violence

The Cure Violence™ approach has also been adapted many times to new contexts and new types of violence.  Cure Violence™ has either implemented or is working on adaptations for:

  • Domestic violence
  • Gender-based violence
  • Belief-inspired violence
  • Sectarian violence
  • Prison violence
  • Post-conflict violence
  • Election violence
  • School/Mass shootings
  • Suicide

+ System Development

The health approach to violence prevention can also be adapted across sectors, and ultimately into a system wide approach to detecting and preventing violence.  Cure Violence™ is working with communities to implement health approaches with:

  • Community-based Organizations
  • Schools
  • Parks
  • Social services
  • Community health
  • Public safety
  • Corrections
  • Courts

Support Cure Violence™

Cure Violence Global™ is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Donations are tax-deductible.

How Cure Violence™ Can Help

For successful implementation, it is essential to work with Cure Violence™ on:

  • Assessment
  • Capacity building
  • Hiring and interviewing
  • Training
  • Implementation assistance
  • Monitoring

Here is how you can start the Cure Violence™ approach to make your community safer!

Sign up for our newsletter!