Three levels of prevention

Violence prevention can be divided into three different levels of prevention: interventions targeting individuals who already perpetrated or experience violence, interventions targeting groups at risk and interventions targeting everyone. Each level plays an important role, but they have different target groups and methods.

Indicated violence prevention is most common. Here, society responds to violence that has already taken place, offering support, protection and treatment to victims of violence, and support and treatment to perpetrators of violence. Work at this level targets individuals to minimise harm and prevent violence from recurring. 

The selective level consists of interventions for groups deemed to be at increased risk of suffering or perpetrating violence, such as new parents. This work is aimed at groups in society whose circumstances put them at risk of perpetrating or experiencing violence. 

The universal level consists of interventions for broad sections of the population, regardless of their previous experience of violence or whether their circumstance entail an increased risk of violence. Working with universal violence prevention reduces the pressure on the first level, the indicated level, where individual interventions are made after violence has already has been used.

Violence prevention can involve one, two or all three levels simultaneously. Broad violence prevention work often leads to a higher level of attention paid to victims and perpetrators of violence. It is therefore important to learn about organisations near you that can support victims of violence and provide support to perpetrators of violence. As an organisation, you must also review the conditions that exist internally within your organisation and that of your partners, to work at the different levels.

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Violence prevention work

Publication date: 2 January 2023

Last updated: 3 January 2023