Step 2: Describe violence as a problem

In the second step, you describe the problems that exist and that you seek to influence. Collect information about violence that is used in your surroundings. Based on this survey, focus on the violence you can counteract. What form of violence is practiced in your context that you can prevent?

A good survey or mapping of the problems makes it easier to analyse, prioritise and plan the following steps. An important step for a good survey is to define violence and achieve a shared understanding of where you stand and what you seek to achieve. What is violence? And what kind of violence are you making a survey of? Be as concrete as possible.

By being concrete and identifying the existing problems and needs for change, it will be easier to set priorities and to follow up your interventions. To deepen the inventory of needs and understanding of the violence to be prevented, you must carry out a survey of the forms of violence in your community to create the right interventions. By describing violence as a problem, i.e., its consequences and costs, it is also easier to anchor the work, motivate action and release resources.

What kind of violence will you map out? Be as concrete as possible.

Consider power relations beyond gender

Violence prevention work must consider power orders beyond gender. When people are already in a particularly vulnerable situation, their needs and circumstances may be different. There may also be difficulties in obtaining protection and support from society. 

In the work to prevent and combat violence, it is important to recognise that several orders of power can be at work at the same time and can limit a person's opportunities and circumstances. In addition to considering inequality, include other power relations for other groups in society. These inequalities may be based on social background, ethnicity, religion, gender identity or expression, disability, sexual orientation or age.

See the link between mild and severe violence

As different types of violence are closely intertwined and have common underlying risk factors, such as growing up in a violent home, gender stereotypes, and substance abuse, you should start from a coherent understanding of violence. 

By preventing violence, in the form of sexism, at an early stage, the likelihood of the more severe forms of violence is used is also reduced.

 One way to approach violence prevention from an intertwined understanding of violence is to start from the so-called continuum of violence, which highlights the links between severe and mild violence. 

Different forms of unwelcome comments, verbal abuse, threats of violence and physical violence can be distributed along a scale. These are interlinked with each other. Severe violence can be enabled by the more common, mild forms of violence. Before the severe violence is a fact, many boundaries have been moved. 

One example is sexualised violence, where the ultimate manifestation of violence is rape. For this to occur, the boundaries of what behaviours are acceptable must have shifted. To prevent severe violence, action is therefore needed against violence that occurs more frequently in everyday life, such as sexist jokes and derogatory language.

Checklist Step 2

1. Have you agreed on a definition of violence as a starting point for your survey?

2. Have you considered a coherent understanding of violence that includes the way in which different forms of men's violence against women, in both public and private contexts, are related to milder forms of violence on the scale of violence?

3. Have you developed statistical data to help assess which violence you should prioritise in your context?

4. Have you supplemented the statistical data with needs inventories and dialogues that have identified explicit needs based on violence as a problem?

5. Have you considered how to already involve children and young people in the work of describing violence as a problem?

6. Have you estimated the costs of the consequences of violence?

7. Have you developed proposals regarding which violence to prioritise?

8. Have you communicated the results of the survey and needs inventory to the chain of command and the collaborative structures for your violence prevention work?

9. Have you anchored your proposed priorities in the chain of command and collaborative structures for your violence prevention work?

In summary, step 2 involves getting an idea of the local conditions to which your violence-prevention interventions need to be adapted, and the readiness for change that exists within the organisations that will implement the work. 

Continue to Step 3

Violence prevention work

Publication date: 2 January 2023

Last updated: 13 June 2024