The Spectrum of Prevention is a systematic tool that promotes a range of activities for effective prevention. It has been used nationally in prevention initiatives for traffic safety, violence prevention, injury prevention, nutrition, and fitness. The Spectrum identifies six  levels of intervention (see image below) and helps people move beyond the perception that prevention is merely education. At each level, the most important activities related to prevention objectives are identified. As these activities are identified, they lead to interrelated actions at other levels of the Spectrum. All six levels are complementary and synergistic: when used together, they have a greater effect than would be possible from a single activity or initiative.

Originally developed by Larry Cohen while working as Director of Prevention Programs at the Contra Costa County Health Department, the Spectrum is based on the work of Marshall Swift in treating developmental disabilities.

Profiles in Action

  • Cultivating Peace in Salinas: A Framework for Violence Prevention

    In an effort to improve health outcomes for children, youth, and families, the City of Salinas joined together with the Violent Injury Prevention Coalition (VIPC) and their foundation, Partners for Peace, to launch a community collaborative planning process.

  • Beyond Brochures: Preventing Alcohol-Related Violence and Injuries

    This paper describes The Spectrum of Prevention methodology in current practice in the injury field that can be effective at preventing alcohol-related injuries (both "intentional," i.e. violent and "unintentional," such as motor vehicle collisions, falls, burns, and drowning).

  • First Steps: Taking Action Early to Prevent Violence

    The First Steps report, funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and done in collaboration with Action Alliance for Children and Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California, synthesizes a decade's worth of research on violence prevention, and presents best practices, as well as a comprehensive strategy to start effective violence prevention efforts at an early age.

  • Sonke Gender Justice Project

    This document discusses effective responses to gender based violence and HIV and AIDS, adopting Prevention Institute's Spectrum of Prevention as a planning and programme tool.

  • Business Sector Action Checklist

    Utilizing  The Spectrum of Prevention, this checklist provides a list of actions for the business sector to complete in aiding violence prevention efforts.