Community violence generally happens outside the home in public spaces. Most community violence involves a relatively small number of people as victims or perpetrators, but its effects impact entire communities, eroding public health, causing economic disruption, and contributing to lasting individual and community traumas. Mitigation efforts typically focus on high-risk individuals, gun violence, specific violent crime problems, as well as the historical and structural challenges that often result in community violence.
Community violence intervention (CVI) is an approach that uses evidence-informed strategies to reduce violence through tailored community-centered initiatives. These multidisciplinary strategies engage individuals and groups to prevent and disrupt cycles of violence and retaliation, and establish relationships between individuals and community assets to deliver services that save lives, address trauma, provide opportunity, and improve the physical, social, and economic conditions that drive violence.
The CVI approach includes or employs:
- Trusted, credible messengers and practitioners to deliver key intervention elements.
- Representatives of the affected communities as full partners who provide input and guidance on the intervention’s approach.
- A focus on those individuals at highest risk of experiencing or perpetrating community violence in the near term.
- Data from multiple sources that are vetted for racial, ethnic, economic, or other biases to inform the approach.
- Practices that are informed by, and respond to, the impact of trauma on individuals and the broader population in historically underinvested communities.
- Public, private, and community stakeholders most impacted by violence, building authentic relationships to prevent violence, strengthen community resilience, and build social capital.
- Racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic equity, including understanding the many social, demographic, economic, and institutional factors that perpetuate community violence, and bringing supportive responses directly to the neighborhoods and people with the greatest need.
CVI Guiding Principles
Community-centered: The CVI approach must be informed by, and tailored to, community residents and stakeholders, and everyone involved must prioritize the needs of the community. This means social service partners are engaged to align and collaborate with residents and law enforcement partners in order to reduce violence and build community.
Equitable and inclusive: Care must be taken to guarantee the community members most affected and most disenfranchised are included in creating CVI solutions and benefiting from them.
Evidence-informed: Each CVI strategy should be built using evidence generated by multiple disciplines and a variety of methods. Evidence used to support a CVI program may include findings from research and evaluation as well as case studies, expert opinions, or documented lessons learned from the field. Ideally, a CVI program will engage in research and evaluation to help build the evidence base for what works.
Effective and sustainable: CVI programs must demonstrate measurable impacts on violence and community wellbeing, and they must have access to resources that enable responses to new and ongoing challenges over time.
Visit the following pages for additional CVI information and resources: