Violence Prevention: Violence Prevention Strategies
These strategies may be helpful in mediating the risk factors for violence.
Encourage "protective" factors
Protective factors that can counter the negative impact of some risk factors associated with violence include:
- High IQ, resilient temperament, good natured, enjoys social interactions. With similar risk factors girls are less likely than boys to become violent.
- Strong, positive relationships with family members, teachers or other adults can make a youth feel that someone takes an interest in them and cares about them.
Adults with healthy beliefs and clear standards
- Adults can act as role models and demonstrate to youths that people can succeed in life without being violent.
Interventions at the individual level
- Reach out to students and take a positive interest in them.
- Provide tutors or mentors from within the school or from local businesses, service organizations, colleges, or churches.
- Provide part time employment or volunteer work.
- Encourage students to get involved in school or community sponsored youth recreation activities or anti-violence youth collaborations.
Safe school environments require an atmosphere that demonstrates respect for, communication with, and responsibility to one another on a day-to-day basis. A positive school environment provides youths with tools to handle conflict in nonviolent ways. Here are some ways to facilitate such an environment:
- Anger management and counseling programs.
- Mediation and conflict resolution programs.
- A confidential reporting system for youth to alert school personnel with concerns regarding peers. Stress the differences between "ratting" and being safe.
- Alcohol and drug interventions for youths and their families.
- Links with youth serving and law enforcement agencies
- in the community.
- Extended school hours for organized recreation activities, childcare, etc.
- Classes for parenting skills.
- In-school crisis centers, staffed by professionals to work with violent youths and to be used as a "cooling off" space.
- A crisis team consisting of teachers, administration,
- and other school personnel.
- Training on managing violent youths for all school personnel.
- Monitoring by staff and guards.
- Parents as monitors or teachers aids.
- Discipline and dress codes.
- Zero tolerance policies
- A Post Incident Response Plan as part of the Incident Management Plan.
- Mental Health staff available to provide consultation and counseling to students, school personnel, and the community immediately after a crisis and on its anniversary dates.
- Self-help networks for students and their families who have survived a crisis.
Discipline codes should be reviewed periodically and comply with federal, state, and local education laws. Be sure consequences are commensurate with the violation, for example, employ a "graduated sanctions" approach to discipline. Detention, suspension, and expulsion policies should be reviewed and clearly defined so that the discipline code can be enforced consistently, firmly, and fairly.