Comprehensive Primary Prevention Programs

Research has shown that there are nine overarching principles of effective prevention education programs.

  1. Comprehensive: Strategies should include multiple components and affect multiple settings to address a wide range of risk and protective factors of the target problem.
  2. Varied Teaching Methods: Strategies should include multiple teaching methods, including some type of active, skills-based component.
  3. Sufficient Dosage: Participants need to be exposed to enough of the activity for it to have an effect.
  4. Theory Driven: Preventive strategies should have a scientific justification or logical rationale.
  5. Positive Relationships: Programs should foster strong, stable, positive relationships between children and adults.
  6. Appropriately Timed: Program activities should happen at a time (developmentally) that can have maximal impact in a participant’s life.
  7. Socio-Culturally Relevant: Programs should be tailored to fit within cultural beliefs and practices of specific groups as well as local community norms.
  8. Outcome Evaluation: A systematic outcome evaluation is necessary to determine whether a program or strategy worked.
  9. Well-Trained Staff: Programs need to be implemented by staff members who are sensitive, competent, and have received sufficient training, support, and supervision.

The full article detailing these principles can be found here. The Improve Group created an activity to examine curriculum based educational prevention programs and to identify ways they could be strengthened to improve effectiveness.

These are evidence based comprehensive primary prevention programs that adhere to public health principles listed on this site.

The Fourth R The Fourth R consists of a comprehensive school-based program designed to include students, teachers, parents, and the community in reducing violence and risk behaviors. It is important that young people be given information that will help them make good decisions, and are shown positive relationship models that will demonstrate alternatives to the negative examples they frequently see in the world around them.

Involving all adolescents in education about safety and risk, rather than just those who show problems, builds resilience for future difficulties. A universal approach precludes the need for identifying youth and reduces the stigma of being labeled high risk. Through this program, all students are better equipped with the skills they need to build healthy relationships and to help themselves and their peers reduce risky behaviors.
Safe Dates Safe Dates is a 10 session program for 8th and 9th grade students that targets attitudes and behaviors associated with dating abuse and violence. Each session is approximately 50 minutes in length. Safe Dates can be flexibly scheduled (e.g., daily or weekly sessions).

Reproducible student handouts for each session are included on the CD-ROM. If you do not have time to complete all ten sessions, the curriculum has suggestions for a six-session or four-session program. It is important to realize, however, that the fidelity of the product and accompanying outcomes are best maintained by completing all ten sessions. Click here for a checklist that shows what be done to ensure fidelity.
Expect Respect SafePlace's Expect Respect Program engages youth and adults in building healthy teen relationships and preventing dating and sexual violence. Expect Respect is built on an ecological, trauma-informed model and offers a comprehensive prevention program for youth in middle and high schools.

Serving Austin schools since 1988, Expect Respect provides school based support groups and counseling, youth leadership activities, and educational programs in schools and community settings. The three primary program components 1) support boys and girls who have been exposed to violence, 2) mobilize youth as leaders and 3) engage schools, parents and community organizations in creating safe and healthy environments.
Discovery Dating Discovery Dating is a healthy relationship development tool created by Wise Women Gathering Place (WWGP) Director, Alice Skenandore. It provides a process for exploration of personal values, discernment of character traits of others, and practice of informed decision making.

Discovery Dating details steps which enable the student to predict repercussions of certain choices and the benefits of true partnership based upon discernment of facts and information.

Discovery Dating has been used with full or partial implementation in a myriad of settings, including elementary and middle school classrooms, educational sessions for mothers receiving public benefits, youth clubs, high school enrichment offerings, and women’s support groups. Detailed instructions for implementing 14 weekly sessions in a classroom are available; however, the lessons may be adjusted or combined to suit varying schedules.
Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) The Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Model is a gender violence, bullying, and school violence prevention approach that encourages young men and women from all socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds to take on leadership roles in their schools and communities. The training is focused on an innovative "bystander" model that empowers each student to take an active role in promoting a positive school climate. The heart of the training consists of role-plays intended to allow students to construct and practice viable options in response to incidents of harassment, abuse, or violence before, during, or after the fact. Students learn that there is not simply "one way" to confront violence, but that each individual can learn valuable skills to build their personal resolve and to act when faced with difficult or threatening life situations.
CAMPpeaceworks CAMPpeaceworks is a project of Berks Women in Crisis (BWIC) in Reading, PA. This five‐day summer day camp begins the process of developing youth as leaders in anti‐oppression work. Each year 35‐40 youth between the ages of 13‐17 years participate. A team of 18 individuals facilitates the program, including past campers, BWIC staff members, and community volunteers. During camp, youth explore social justice issues as the roots of violence in our society. Using an anti‐oppression framework, the camp builds critical awareness of racism, sexism, adultism, classism, and heterosexism. It also develops skills for intervening in oppression at school, home and in the wider community. Youth leadership is cultivated with the expectation that campers will develop and carry out anti‐oppression and violence prevention initiatives in their own schools and communities, and/or connect to efforts currently underway. Throughout the school year, weekly meetings are held to extend the camp experience, provide peer support and help youth leaders carry out their projects.
Coaching Boys into Men Coaching Boys into Men is a coaches' leadership program that partners with athletic coaches to help young male athletes practice respect towards themselves and others. The goal of the program is to help younger generations build non-violent and respectful relationships to prevent future intimate partner violence and relationship abuse. The program was developed for coaches to easily integrate messages into their regular coaching sessions. 
Men of Strength (MOST) Clubs Men Can Stop Rape's youth development program, the Men of Strength Club, is a primary violence prevention program for mobilizing young men to prevent sexual and dating violence. The Men of Strength Club, or MOST Club, provides young men with a structured and supportive space to build individualized definitions of masculinity that promote healthy relationships. Men Can Stop Rape also uses public awareness campaigns and Community Strength Projects to reach young men at the community level.

CAWS North Dakota is introducing Young Men of Strength [YMOST], a campaign funded by the Verizon Foundation.

Focusing on role modeling bystander intervention, this anti-bullying and harassment public service announcement campaign addresses behaviors common to young men including: gender-based harassment, teasing, bullying and cyber-bullying. The YMOST campaign was inspired by MCSR’s Men of Strength (MOST) Club, a middle and high school youth development program that provides young men with a safe, consistent space to learn how to be strong without being violent.

CAWS ND’s campaign is comprised of four posters and palm cards. A digital toolkit, with more information about the campaign is also available.. Educators and community youth groups are encouraged to use the campaign materials to begin the conversation about bullying and harassment. Free materials are available from CAWS or the 20 domestic violence/rape crisis programs in the state.

***It should be noted that a poster campaign without the YMOST clubs would not be considered comprehensive primary prevention based on the nine principles or prevention. However, the toolkit supports primary prevention and social norms change messaging.
Positive Peer Norms Project The Conflict Center uses social norming techniques to create a safer learning environment for students. They are currently engaged in two social norming projects around the topic of teen dating violence and relationship violence. The techniques aim to identify and educate students on the gaps between actual and perceived norms of acceptable behavior and reinforcement of “positive peer pressure” as a way to prevent students from acting out violent behaviors to seek peer acceptance
Primary Prevention Institute The Primary Prevention Institute (PPI) is a community capacity building initiative facilitated by the Women’s Resource Center in Newport, RI. The aim of the Primary Prevention Institute (PPI) is to embed the strategies associated with the primary prevention of intimate partner violence into existing youth programs at community-based agencies. The Institute combines classroom-based learning with opportunities for immediate application of new concepts through homework and individualized technical assistance.
ReDo Day ReDo (Respect Everyone Despite Odds) Day is a powerful, high-energy program in which student and adult participants are guided through a series of experiential learning processes with the intent to promote a positive school environment for all students to learn and grow.
Start Strong Boston The Start Strong Initiative, Boston program aims to stop teen dating abuse before it starts. The Start Strong Initiative focuses on teaching 11-18 year olds teen dating violence prevention strategies and healthy relationship skills. By including Boston young people in every part of the programming, from planning to implementation, they are making sure that they are not just talking about teens.
Green Dot The Green Dot strategy is a comprehensive approach to violence prevention that capitalizes on the power of peer and cultural influence across all levels of the socio-ecological model. Informed by social change theory, the model targets all community members as potential bystanders, and seeks to engage them, through awareness, education, and skills-practice, in proactive behaviors that establish intolerance of violence as the norm, as well as reactive interventions in high-risk situations.

The University of North Dakota officially launched their Green Dot Program on October 1st, 2015.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed technical packages to help states and communities take advantage of the best available evidence to prevent violence. The STOP SV: A Technical Package to Prevent Sexual Violence represents a select group of strategies based on the best available evidence to help communities and states sharpen their focus on prevention activities with the greatest potential to reduce sexual violence (SV) and its consequences.