Policy Efforts: Reduce Violence Across Communities and Beyond

Policy Efforts

Reduce Violence Across Communities and Beyond

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Policies are an important part of a comprehensive violence prevention plan. They can help create an environment that enables or reinforces programs and practices. Policy-oriented approaches also have the potential to affect factors at the community and societal levels of the social-ecological model that increase or buffer against the risk for violence. Violence prevention policies that advance health equity help to ensure that the benefits of violence prevention policies, practices, and programs extend to all segments of the population, thereby making it possible to achieve greater reductions in violence over time.

When you think "policy," be sure to consider procedures, administrative actions, incentives, and voluntary practices, whether they operate at the organizational, local, state, or national level. Policies are defined as binding, enforceable written statements that reflect the values and decisions of a group or organization. They can apply broadly to a geographic area, institution, physical space, or group of people. Types of policies include guidelines, principles, or methods created by government agencies, as well as organizational contracts, rules, or practices established within an agency or organization. Regulatory rules governing how to calculate eligibility for a benefit count as policies too.

Identify a Role for Your Agency in the Policy Process

Implementing policies follows largely the same process as any other violence prevention approach. State and local agencies can support the policy process in several ways, and work in tandem with partners and other sectors.

Policies come in many forms—contracts, organizational procedures, local ordinances, and resolutions, for example. Working on policy involves many of the skills that state and local agencies already use. Click on a step in the policy process to see some potential roles for your agency:

Book Icon for Resources To learn more about CDC's Policy Process, visit:

CDC’s Policy Process

Book Icon for Resources For a useful example on Informing Policy, visit:

Dating Matters Interactive Guide

Stakeholder Engagement and Education Process image highlighting Problem Identification
  • Convene stakeholders
  • Share and analyze existing data and support the collection of new data, to identify trends and opportunities

See Planning and Partnerships for more information about each of these activities.

Pen Icon for Stories See how San Antonio used evidence and data to build community support for high quality preschool education.

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Stakeholder Engagement and Education Process image highlighting Policy Analysis
  • Research and review current policies and procedures
  • Educate stakeholders about strengths and challenges of current policies and procedures
  • Analyze and understand policy options
  • Review model or existing policies from similar jurisdictions or organizations
  • Gather stakeholder input on potential policies that address the priority risk and protective factors for violence
  • Review recommendations from organizations working on violence prevention
  • Conduct an assessment to understand the potential health impacts of a policy option Purple Health Equity Icon
  • Provide feedback on potential policy options
  • Assess how policies, regulations, rules and restrictions can enable, reinforce, or align with other prevention strategies

Pen Icon for Stories Sometimes the best policy solution is to change systems to make existing policies easier to enforce. See how New Jersey did this.

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Stakeholder Engagement and Education Process image highlighting Strategy and Policy Development
  • Review and provide feedback on policy language
  • Provide evidence and education to key stakeholders and policymakers

Pen Icon for Stories See how Rhode Island framed the message of policy to ensure adoption.

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Stakeholder Engagement and Education Process image highlighting Policy Enactment
  • Provide input on the regulations or procedures to support policies once they are in place

Pen Icon for Stories See how Florida developed and adopted organizational policies.

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Stakeholder Engagement and Education Process image highlighting Policy Implementation
  • Provide education and guidance to support policy adoption and implementation
  • Educate stakeholders and decision-makers about the policy and its benefits
  • Ensure awareness of the policy
  • Monitor policy implementation
  • Support policy enforcement

Pen Icon for Stories See how Connecticut implemented violence prevention policies.

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At every step, engage and educate stakeholders

  • Identify and connect with decision-makers, partners, groups and community members affected by the policy, in order to gather feedback on the problem and discuss potential policy approaches
  • Collaborate with key stakeholders to provide education about policy issues
  • Identify stakeholders in other sectors or issue areas who may have an interest in the policy or who are currently working on policy in general
  • Connect practitioners to key stakeholders
  • Work with private sector partners to raise awareness on the benefits of the policy and/or identify ways to strengthen policies
  • Educate the public about existing policies

Evaluate throughout the process

  • Assess what works and what doesn’t work throughout the policy process
  • Evaluate the implementation and impact of the policy
  • Provide feedback based on evaluation results to inform potential changes to implementation, guidance or enforcement
  • Share results of the evaluation with key stakeholders
    • For more information about evaluating injury prevention policies, review NCIPCs Policy Evaluation Briefs found in the Resource Center.