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How to Prevent Relationship Violence

The good news is, prevention is possible! Here are some evidence-based approaches to stopping relationship violence before it begins.

Understand risk factors

To prevent intimate partner violence, we must understand and address the factors that put people at risk for or protect them from violence.

Why don’t they leave?

Promote healthy, respectful, and nonviolent relationships and communities

This will not only reduce the occurrence of IPV, it can also prevent the harmful and long-lasting effects of IPV on individuals, families, and communities. CDC developed a resource, Preventing Intimate Partner Violence Across the Lifespan: A Technical Package of Programs, Policies, and Practices [5 MB, 64 Pages, 508], to help communities take advantage of the best available evidence to prevent intimate partner violence. This resource can be used as a tool in efforts to impact individual behaviors, as well as family, community, and society factors that influence risk and protective factors for intimate partner violence.

Addressing root causes of violence

Intimate partner violence is linked to other forms of violence through shared risk and protective factors. Addressing and preventing one form of violence may have an impact on preventing other forms of violence.

Educating young men

Many parents understand the importance of talking with their daughters about learning how to stay safe. But every violent relationship has a victim and an abuser — and the vast majority of the time the abuser is male. According to Jackson Katz, founder of Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) and an expert in relationship abuse prevention, it is critical that we talk with our sons about healthy relationships.

“When it comes to abuse in teen relationships, frequently we react after the fact,” says Katz. “But if we’re going to prevent the abuse before it starts, we need to be more honest about who’s doing it. While young women are capable of acting cruelly or even using violence, the vast majority of abuse in teen relationships is perpetrated by young men. It is not anti-male to say this. It is simply acknowledging reality. If parents have any reason to suspect that their son might be mistreating his girlfriend or other young women, they have a special responsibility to address this with him immediately so that he gets help to deal with his problems.”

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