The Cure Violence Approach

Cure Violence stops the spread of violence by using the methods and strategies associated with disease control:

  1. Detecting and interrupting conflicts,
  2. Identifying and treating the highest risk individuals
  3. Changing social norms

1. Detect and interrupt potentially violent conflicts

Trained violence interrupters and outreach workers prevent shootings by identifying and mediating potentially lethal conflicts in the community, and following up to ensure that the conflict does not reignite.

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 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 treat highest risk

Trained, culturally-appropriate outreach workers work with the highest risk to make them less likely to commit violence by meeting them 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.

Provide Treatment – Workers develop a caseload of clients who they work with intensively – seeing 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 – Whenever a shooting occurs, workers organize a response where dozens of community members voice their objection to the shooting

Organize Community – Workers coordinate with existing and establish new block clubs, tenant councils, and neighborhood associations to assist

Spread Positive Norms – Program distributes materials and hosts events to covey 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.

For more detail, see this handout:

+ Adaptation to Context and Type of Violence

The Cure Violence 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
  • Belief-inspired violence
  • Prison violence
  • Post-conflict violence

+ 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:

  • Police
  • Schools
  • Prisons
  • Courts
  • Parks
  • Social services
  • Community health

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

Please start by participating in one of our monthly webinars for new communities.

Cure Violence Webinar