• Carlos Munoz Burgos

What works in CVP? Socioecological analysis

There are many possible interventions to prevent violence at the individual, relationship, community, and societal levels of the ecological framework of human development. Many interventions have been tried at all levels with different results. Some of these interventions have been effective, while others have not been promising.

The following table (click here if the text is too small) shows what interventions have been effective and ineffective at the different levels of the ecological model.

A few observations can be made from this table that I put together based on information from the book Beyond Suppression. First, individual counseling is not very effective. Evidence shows that family counseling is more effective as the individual has a support network that helps her/him change negative behaviors. This is why parental training and family therapy are listed as effective interventions at the relationship level in this table.

Second, training in the safe use of guns is extremely ineffective in preventing violence. Knowing how to safely use a gun will not prevent perpetrators of violence who intentionally use firearms from using them. Arming a population and teaching it how to safely use a gun, does not reduce violence.

Third, trying young offenders in adult courts is one of the biggest mistakes a country can make. Unfortunately, this occurs in countries with weak judicial systems, where youth and adolescent codes are non-existent. When youth are tried as adults, a punitive approach is usually taken. Instead of allowing youth to learn from their mistakes through a restorative approach, these systems imprison them (in some cases with adults) and exacerbate the violence situation in these countries. These youth master violent behaviors while in prison, and are ready to commit crimes or engage in violence when they are released.

A final observation is that at the community and societal levels there are many interventions that have not been categorized as effective or ineffective. This is because, as I have discussed in previous posts, violence is multifaceted and multicausal. As a result, deconcentrating poverty, for instance, will not magically reduce violence in an area. If it does, it would be difficult to prove that it was that intervention only what caused the reduction in violence, especially if other interventions are also underway.