Violence is preventable, not inevitable. There is a strong and growing evidence base, grounded in research and experiential evidence (practitioner and community wisdom) that supports this fact. The community knows what it takes to prevent violence. Changing the underlying conditions that contribute to violence—in homes, schools, and neighborhoods—prevents violence from occurring in the first place.

Prevention Institute engages leaders from multiple sectors at the local, state, and national levels and cultivates a systems approach to prevention that reduces the need for criminal justice intervention.

Recognizing violence as a crucial prevention issue for health and equity, Prevention Institute has made a major commitment to helping cities devise comprehensive plans and strategies for reducing and preventing violence. Catalyzing national momentum, we launched UNITY (Urban Networks to Increase Thriving Youth through Violence Prevention) with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Projects & Initiatives

PI works with a breadth of partners and communities to develop strategies and practices to keep people healthy and safe in the first place. Below is a selection of ongoing or recent projects.

  • Safety Through Connection: Building Community Capacity to Prevent Partner Violence

    Once considered a private matter, domestic violence is increasingly recognized as a public problem with vast immediate and long-term physical, emotional, social, economic, and other impacts. Recognizing that the quality and safety of our partner relationships are shaped by conditions in our community environments and the actions of multiple sectors, PI and Blue Shield of California Foundation will award one-year planning and capacity building grants to five well-established, multisector collaboratives that would like to integrate community-level domestic violence prevention into their work. 

  • UNITY, Urban Networks to Increase Thriving Youth

    Since 2005, Prevention Institute has supported dozens of large U.S. cities to prevent urban violence through the UNITY initiative. UNITY advances a public health approach and works closely with the UNITY City Network to develop prevention strategies that address violence before it occurs.

  • Adverse Community Experiences and Resilience: Understanding, Addressing and Preventing Community Trauma

    Until now, there has been no basis for understanding how community trauma undermines resilience and mental wellbeing, especially in communities highly impacted by violence, and what can be done about it. With the support of Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit, PI and Dr. Howard Pinderhughes developed the Adverse Community Experiences and Resilience (ACE|R) framework. PI also works with communities, sectors, and policymakers to address and prevent community trauma, and to foster community resilience.

  • PreventConnect: Primary Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence

    For more than 10 years, PI and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) have brought together this community of practice to strengthen primary prevention of sexual and domestic violence.


    • From a Cycle of Violence to a Culture of Safety and Equity
  • Tailored Guidance for Cities and Counties

    Through intensive collaboration with local groups, Prevention Institute has directly shaped how cities and counties approach the issue of violence and has improved prevention practice broadly.

  • OJJDP Training and Technical Assistance Project

    Prevention Institute provides training and technical assistance to the signature violence prevention initiatives funded by the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), including the National Forum for Youth Violence Prevention, Community Based Violence Prevention, and the Defending Childhood Initiative.

  • WHO Global Violence Prevention Alliance

    Prevention Institute is a member of the WHO’s global Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA), a network of WHO Member States, international agencies and civil society organizations working to prevent violence.


We research and write reports, white papers, fact sheets, opinion pieces, and journal articles, as well as produce videos and podcasts. Here are some of our latest offerings.

  • A Health Equity and Multisector Approach to Preventing Domestic Violence

    This report offers research, analysis, frameworks, and practitioner wisdom to understand the factors in the community environment that support safe relationships and a reduction in domestic violence (DV). It identifies opportunities for 13 sectors to engage in DV prevention, and offers a method for multiple sectors to identify joint strengths, strategies, and outcomes. The paper presents an overarching approach to advancing a health equity and multisector approach to DV prevention, and identifies broad elements and immediate next steps to move this approach forward.

  • Cradle to Community: A Focus on Community Safety and Healthy Child Development

    This report by Prevention Institute and the Center for the Study of Social Policy makes the case for action and delineates opportunities for systems, policy, and practice change at the intersection of community safety and positive early child development. For example, emergent opportunities at the intersection include changing norms about fathers and fatherhood through systems and practice change; engaging the community development sector to address housing issues through policies and practices; and building the early education to employment pipeline through state and local policy change.

  • Adverse Community Experiences and Resilience: A Framework for Addressing and Preventing Community Trauma

    This first-of-its-kind framework explores trauma at a community level. It explains how trauma is produced not only by experiencing interpersonal violence but also by experiencing structural violence – the harm that individuals, families, and communities experience from the economic and social structure; social institutions; and social relations of power, privilege and inequity that inhibit them from meeting their basic needs.

  • Community Safety by Design

    Decisions about how land is used, by whom, and for what purposes hold immense potential to prevent violence before it occurs, but land use decisions are rarely made with violence prevention in mind. This publication offers recommendations for creating safer communities through a deeper understanding of the intersection of place and safety.

  • Connecting the Dots: An Overview of the Links among Multiple Forms of Violence

    To clarify the relationships among eight forms of violence, Prevention Institute developed Connecting the Dots with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to build a case for practitioners to coordinate their efforts, increase their impact, and work toward preventing multiple forms of violence at once.

Tools & Services

We have developed a broad range of practical, free-to-use tools to guide practitioners, advocates, and policymakers in planning and implementing  prevention strategies. We also provide services to help you use our tools to create healthy and safe communities.

  • UNITY RoadMap

    To help you get to know the UNITY RoadMap, UNITY has created an interactive experience that lets you navigate through the elements, read related articles, and watch video clips to learn more about how to effectively and sustainably prevent violence.

  • Preventing Violence: A Primer

    This document describes a framework that incorporates public health, law enforcement, social service, and education perspectives in preventing violence. Violence is among the most serious health threats in the nation today, jeopardizing the health and safety of the public. Recognizing that law enforcement alone cannot solve the problem of violence, practitioners have increasingly turned toward a broader, more comprehensive approach.

Profiles in Action

These profiles, written by PI and our partners, show what community prevention looks like on the ground, all across the country.

  • Profiles in Prevention: Los Angeles County

    Working with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, Prevention Institute developed five profiles that highlight the importance of community partnerships to advance prevention strategies focused on making Los Angeles a healthier, safer, and more equitable place to live.

  • Mobilizing Boston Residents to Prevent Violence

    The Boston Public Health Commission's Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative (VIP) is grounded in community engagement, an essential element of preventing violence. This publication describes the goals of VIP's five community coalitions, and shares advice for mobilizing residents.

  • Sharing Data to Prevent Violence in Louisville

    Part of the City Voices and Perspectives series, this publication describes the advantages of a coordinated out-of-school-time system and includes recommendations for overcoming implementation challenges.