For more than two decades, the case has been made that violence is a public health problem and this view has spread globally. Since violence is a complex and multi-faceted problem, it requires comprehensive solutions. One way of building comprehensive solutions to violence is through the use of a social ecological framework. That is, to develop, test and diffuse prevention strategies that will affect risk and protective factors at the individual, relationship, community and societal levels. For this presentation, evaluation research in child maltreatment, suicide, and youth, intimate partner and sexual violence was used to categorise what we know about prevention at different levels of the social ecology. What we can say about effective violence prevention (ie, what works) varies depending on the type of violence. Across all types of violence, we know more about effectively addressing risk factors at the individual and relationship levels. Specific examples of effective strategies will be given based on research funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current gaps in knowledge and the challenges to addressing those gaps will be presented. Comprehensive approaches to violence prevention are needed; however, there are significant gaps in knowledge that stand in the way. Currently, those committed to addressing violence at multiple levels of the social ecology are faced with using evidence-based strategies to address some factors and using unproven strategies to address others. Future directions for evaluation research will be suggested in order to move toward a more comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to preventing violence.
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