Social Ecological Model
Violence prevention requires understanding the factors that influence it. A four level social ecological model is used to better understand violence and the effect of potential prevention strategies. This model takes into consideration the complex interplay between individual, relationship, community, and societal factors.
Prevention strategies are necessary at all levels of the
social-ecological model. A multi-level approach to violence
prevention is more likely to lead to reductions in violence
over time than an approach that targets only one
level of the model.
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Individual — The first level of the model identifies biological and personal history factors that increase the likelihood of becoming a victim or perpetrator of violence. Some of these factors are age, education, income, substance use, or history of behaving aggressively or experiencing abuse.
Relationship — The second level of the model focuses on close relationships – such as those with family, friends, intimate partners and peers – and explores how these relationships increase the risk of being a victim or a perpetrator of violence. A person's social circle influences their behavior, how they perceive the world, and range of experiences.
Community — The third level of the model explores the settings in which social relationships occur including schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods. It seeks to identify the characteristics of those settings that are associated with becoming victims or perpetrators of violence.
Societal — The fourth level looks at the broad societal factors that help create a climate in which violence is encouraged or inhibited. These factors include social and cultural norms. Other large societal factors include the health, economic, educational and social policies that help to maintain inequalities between groups in society.