As with any prevention work, our ultimate goal in counseling teens on dating violence, sexual assault/abuse, bystander intervention, and healthy relationships is to stop violence before it begins. To accomplish this goal, the Coalition works from the Social-Ecological Model, which uses four levels to understand violence and create effective prevention strategies. This model looks at factors on individual, relationship, community, and societal levels to address the factors in each level that may contribute to an individual committing or experiencing sexual or relationship violence.
Individual level influences are personal factors that increase the likelihood of becoming a victim or perpetrator. Examples include attitudes and beliefs that support dating violence or sexual assault, isolation, and a family history of violence.
Prevention strategies at this level are often designed to promote attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that support intimate relationships based on mutual respect, equality, and trust. Specific approaches may include mentoring and education.
Interpersonal relationship level influences are factors that increase risk due to relationships with peers, intimate partners, and family members. A person’s closest social circle—peers, partners and family members—can shape an individual’s behavior and range of experience.
Prevention strategies at this level may include education and peer programs designed to promote intimate relationships based on mutual respect, equality, and trust.
Community level influences are factors that increase risk based on individual experiences and relationships with community and social environments such as schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods.
Prevention strategies at this level are typically designed to impact the climate, processes and policies in a given system. Social norm campaigns are often used to nurture community climates that promote intimate relationships based on mutual respect, equality, and trust.
Societal level influences are larger, macro-level factors that impact dating and sexual violence, such as gender inequality, religious or cultural beliefs, societal norms, and social policies.
Prevention strategies at this level normally involve collaborations by multiple partners to promote social norms, policies, and laws that support gender equity and encourage intimate relationships based on mutual respect, equality, and trust.