New Report: Cure Violence Model Creates Better Parenting and Less Violence for Families & Children

Preventing violence is vitally important for children and families. Over 1 billion children are victims of violence every year. Additionally, many more children and families are negatively affected by growing up around violence, which has been linked to significant harm to a child’s mental and physical health. Exposure to violence has also been linked to negative long-term outcomes, including lowered educational outcomes, substance abuse, and criminal activity. Perhaps most significantly, violence is contagious, such that those who are exposed to violence are at a much higher risk for becoming violent themselves, and thus perpetrating the cycle of violence in their homes and communities.

A study commissioned by the Bernard van Leer Foundation examines how the Cure Violence health model specifically affects children under the age of 8 years as well as the families of these children. The study includes a survey, in-depth interviews, and focus groups among clients at four program sites. The results demonstrate that Cure Violence Model sites have had deep effects on young children and families, including less exposure to violence for children and families, better parenting practices by clients of the program, better behavior directed at children in general by clients, increased use of public spaces by children and families, and reduced fear of violence among children and families.

Key findings include:

  • 96.7% of respondents believed that the Cure Violence Model resulted in less exposure to violence in the community for their children
  • 92.4% reported less exposure to violence in their home for their children due to the Cure Violence Model
  • 95% thought that the Cure Violence Model made them a better parent
  • Children and families have increased feeling of safety due to Cure Violence
  • Children and families have increased use of public spaces due to the Cure Violence Model
  • Norms regarding violence changed by the Cure Violence Model

The interview phase of the study provided additional detail, showing that clients had improved interactions with other children in the community.

The study also discovered that the Cure Violence Model had an effect on community norms relating to violence. Part of this process included exposing the most violent people in the community to a completely different perspective. One client described, “You get to just see the world from a whole different point of view, not just the box that we’re living in.”

All of these effects of the Cure Violence Model lead to an improved feeling of safety in the community resulting in more use of public spaces and more opportunities for children and families to interact with others in their community. One person reported, “After a couple months with a Cure Violence site in the neighborhood everybody started coming out. Popping up out the blue, minggling. Walking around, standing outside.”

The BVL study found that the Cure Violence Model is uniquely situated to create these changes in community norms, behavior of the highest risk, in the experiences of the young children and families in the community. Community health workers implementing the Cure Violence Model are from the community they serve and are therefore seen as “family” and as leaders in the community. This allows them to reach a population that is largely not being reached by any services, yet they are having such a huge impact on our youth, our communities, and our cities.