Cure Violence has made an impact in communities in several cities. See examples of how our approach has reduced violence and helped transform lives.
Interpersonal violence accounts for more than 1,500 deaths a day worldwide, which is an estimated 547,500 total victims a year globally. While superficially attributed to cultural, tribal, or ethnic divisions, these conflicts represent the transmission of a contagion of violence and can often escalate from petty disputes into collective violent events.
Beyond the international headlines, the nature of violence globally stems more from interpersonal conflict than traditional or organized combat. Personal grievances often gain momentum becoming larger scale feuds or major violent events.
Cure Violence offers a unique, interdisciplinary approach to international violence prevention. Rather than viewing violence through the conventional human rights or criminal justice lens, Cure Violence maintains that violence is a learned behavior that can be prevented using disease control methods.
The greatest predictors of violent “events,” regardless of the specific political, religious, social, or economic motivations for violence or how it manifests (tribal conflict, militia warfare, street gangs) are prior events. This is true across the spectrum of violent acts – whether we’re talking about the genocidal violence among tribal groups in Rwanda, violent clashes that occurred throughout the Arab Spring, the 2011 riots that happened in London, or the violence rampant in American communities.
Recognizing how violence starts and spreads has profound global implications— if violence is re-envisioned as a disease and regarded as a reversible epidemic, it can be stopped.
The longest running international Cure Violence site, Ambassadors for Peace (A4P) was started in partnership with the American Islamic Congress in 2008. Launched in Basrah, Iraq it has since expanded to cover two additional sites in Basrah and two sites in Sadr City, Baghdad. In 2010, a case study on the success of the initiative was included in the book Beyond Suppression. A4P mediated 331 conflicts from April 2011 to March 2012.
Sisi Ni Amani [We are Peace Kenya in Swahili] (SNA-K) was started following widespread election violence in 2007. To prevent future violence in Kenya, they began strengthening the efforts of existing networks of peace leaders. SNA-K’s activities rest on the fundamental belief that local actors have the knowledge, social capital, and motivation to promote a sustainable peace, but lack necessary tools and capacity. Cure Violence began a partnership in 2012 through the PeaceTXT collaboration, and has gone on to provide training and technical assistance on the health model.
The Sisi Ni Amani program was a huge success during the 2013 Kenyan elections. A report by the Geneva Peacbuilding Platform said, “While simple, this strategy appears to have had a great impact, at least insofar as it reminded Kenyans of the potential personal and financial cost of violence and the impact of the 2007-2008 PEV. One resource person suggested that there was such a bombardment of peace messages that anyone using a different discourse was easily identified.”
Since October 2010, The Chaos Theory (CT), a UK-based violence prevention program modeled after Cure Violence, has been working with the program. The Chaos Theory was on hand to intervene in the London Riots in August 2011.
Currently, CT is establishing a target area in Waltham Forest with seven Cure Violence-trained Violence Interrupters.
Surviving Our Streets (SOS), a London-based Cure Violence-replication, has been working to hire 6 to 8 Interrupters from major groups in and around the Tottenham target area since 2012. SOS aims to reduce gun and knife violence by using an evidenced-based health model proven to reduce violence. The goal is to establish new social norms within communities hardest hit that violence is not acceptable.
South Africa continues to have one of the highest homicide rates in the world with nearly 50 murders a day. In October 2011, Cure Violence partnered with Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading in Cape Town to develop a violence prevention program in Hanover Park. This three-year pilot program will be launched in August 2012.
Trinidad and Tobago
From 2000 to 2008 the number of murders skyrocketed by 336% to 550 on these islands. The following year (2009) the homicide rate was at 42 per 100,000, double the 18.1 per 100,000 homicide average for the rest of the Caribbean. The Citizen Security Programme (CSP) is working to change this fact. In 2009, CSP reached out to Cure Violence to help shape their violence prevention program.