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How can violence be prevented before it begins?

To guide our prevention work, we are inspired by the Prevention Institute to define prevention as “building resilience to take action and end violence before it begins.”  To do this, we focus on rethinking and reframing our anti-domestic violence work through individual practice and collective efforts.

Domestic violence is a serious public health issue that calls for individual, relational, community, and societal approaches to stopping violence before it starts. By shifting our lens and focusing on community organizing, developing an understanding and awareness of intersections of oppression, examining and working to shift social norms, and progressing towards a culture of reflection, together we can move forward to a domestic violence-free Wisconsin.

We have encountered and envision programs and projects that rethink and reframe intervention approaches to encompass prevention. Examples could include a financial literacy skills-building program that includes all women, not solely survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and public media campaigns that focus on what we want in the world instead of what we want to stop. At the core of prevention we seek to engage everyone in making change, reaching all aspects of our communities in addition to advocates and survivors. Promising prevention strategies work with people and systems to challenge gender, race, and class stereotypes and oppressive norms while defining new ways to be a more positive, equitable, and just society.

Selected Resources: 

Primary Prevention Basics

This one-page handout describes the core elements of prevention of domestic violence. It includes definitions, helpful models, the prevention to intervention continuum, and comparisons with other social change movements.

Click here to view the handout

Nine Principles of Effective Prevention Programs

The CDC DELTA-funded projects across the country use nine principles as a guide in the development of their prevention programming.

Click here to view the Nine Prevention Principles

Report to End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin On Prevention Information and Feedback Listening Sessions Held Spring 2016

End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin coordinated listening sessions to talk with domestic violence and sexual assault experts, culturally specific program providers, and youth coordinators around the state. The goal of the sessions was to get information and recommendations from participants about culturally appropriate prevention programing and practice that can support healthy vibrant relationships and violence free communities.

Click here to view the Report  on the Listening Sessions

Forward To A Domestic Violence-Free Wisconsin: Statewide Plan for the Primary Prevention of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a critical public health issue that calls for community-oriented approaches to stopping violence before it can begin. In 2006 the Governor’s Council Prevention Committee began meeting to create a statewide Primary Prevention of Domestic Violence Plan, resulting in the approval in April 2009 of a five-year strategic plan. This plan is currently using a public health approach to benefit the largest group possible; it builds the capacity of individuals, organizations, and systems to more effectively identify, implement, and evaluate strategies that can prevent first-time perpetration. The development and implementation of this plan would not have been possible without support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Injury Prevention DELTA project, the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the Domestic Violence Program of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families.

Click here to view the WI State Plan

Forward Wisconsin Initiative

The Forward Wisconsin Initiative: a Shared Vision for Preventing Interpersonal Violence is a project that brings together lead agencies in Wisconsin in the broad field of interpersonal violence – child maltreatment, domestic violence, elder abuse, and sexual violence – to maximize efforts to change social norms and community tolerance for violence.

Click here to view the Forward Wisconsin Initiative

Click here to view the Forward Wisconsin Core Components

Prevention Exercises

Exercises are a fun and accessible way to teach and learn about primary prevention that can be repeatedly used to keep people thinking about social change in their personal and professional lives. Try these with community groups, CCR teams, volunteers and staff, etc.


Before & After Game

Bystander Intervention Strategies Exercise

Continuum of Harm Exercise

Everyday Violent Language Exercise

Hotdogs for Breakfast Game

Sexual and Dating Violence Awareness Activity

Social Norms Pie Exercise

Social Movement Victories Exercise

Coalition Chronicles 30-1: Violence Prevention Fundamentals – Building a Foundation

Can we end domestic violence? We must prevent it from happening in the first place. All End Abuse journals in 2011 focused on the topic of prevention.

Click here to view this edition of the Coalition Chronicles

Coalition Chronicles 30-2: Primary Prevention Building Blocks: Changing Social Norms

Violence against women and all types of interpersonal violence is also supported by social norms. Norms are standards, attitudes, and beliefs – rooted in culture and tradition – that are so embedded in our daily lives that we often aren’t conscious of the role they play in influencing the way we act and how we see the world. Norms are much more than just habits; yet, as we’ve seen with norms related to smoking, they can be shifted. This issue of Coalition Chronicles explores how we can do that.

Click here to view this edition of the Coalition Chronicles

Coalition Chronicles 30-3: Organizing: Power to the People to Prevent Domestic Violence

This Coalition Chronicles is a project of End Abuse’s Prevention Workgroup and represents the final entry of a year-long series on Prevention of Domestic Violence.

Click here to view this edition of the Coalition Chronicles

Prevention: Men as Allies
11/27/2012 webinar recording

This webinar explored promising local initiatives that engage men, and ways to develop an approach to mobilizing men in your community. Presented by Molly Zemke, Prevention Program Coordinator from Domestic Abuse Intervention Services.


Click here to view and listen to the webinar
Coalition Chronicles 31-1: Taking the Pulse-Evaluation Resources and Insights

Crafting a concise plan into programming that includes evaluation can have a tremendous impact on services and all the work we do. End Abuse has begun thinking about evaluation as a wraparound effort – assessment, implementation and reflection. Evaluation is the work we do first and the decisions we make to get a project going. It’s connected to our daily, weekly or monthly endeavors to accomplish our goals. And it is ways we measure if we succeed and to what degree.

Click here to view this edition of the Coalition Chronicles

One Billion Rising

One Billion Rising is a global movement to end violence against women and girls. Its name acknowledges that over one billion women and girls will experience violence in their lifetime.

To learn more about the movement, visit the One Billion Rising website.

Prevent Connect is a national online project dedicated to the primary prevention of violence against women.

To gain access to more prevention resources and information on web conferences, visit the Prevent Connect website.

Prevention Resources Specific to Teens and Youth

Please see our Engaging Youth page


Support our work.
Support safe families.

We envision communities fully engaged to provide safety and to give a voice to all affected by domestic abuse, while creating the social change necessary to address its root causes. We honor the wisdom and strength of domestic abuse survivors across the lifespan. Our mission is achievable through survivor-centered work that includes strategic partnerships and collaboration. As advocates for social justice, we embrace the voices of diverse communities.