Nine Key Elements of Best Practice Prevention Programs
The Nine Key Elements of Best Practice Prevention Programs are drawn from published research identifying the key elements of prevention programs identified as best practices. These elements may help you when developing and evaluating your own domestic violence prevention programs. If you have any questions about the key elements of best practice programs, please feel free to contact TCFV.
- Comprehensive: The program promotes positive messages regarding healthy relationships at multiple levels, ranging from individual to institutional. This could mean coordinating an individual-level curriculum that educates teens on healthy dating with a community-level campaign promoting positive examples of male behavior such as respect, or with strategies at a policy and legislative level that aim to change laws and policies affecting funding for domestic violence prevention.
- Varied Teaching Methods: The program employs multiple teaching methods to address different learning styles. Strategies include at least one active, skills-based component based on the learners’ experiences.
- Positive Relationships: The program fosters and builds on strong, stable, and positive relationships between youth and adults, youth and other youth, and adults and other adults. Examples of this include creating peer discussion groups of participants and encouraging parent involvement in school-based programming.
- Appropriate: The program is compatible with the context in which it is used and relevant to the background and norms of the community. (Recruiting leadership from diverse groups present in the larger community is one example of how to design a program to fit community norms.) The program reflects policy changes in the community and is compatible or integrated with other local prevention programs.
- Small Successes: Successful plans for program implementation chose manageable, measurable, and realistic first steps, and then built upon their accomplishments.
- Sufficient Dosage: The program exposes participants to enough of the program for it to have an effect. Research has shown that 7-9 “doses” (such as 7-9 training sessions, workshops, etc.) can result in changes in attitudes and behaviors.
- A Well-Equipped Team: The program is led by people who are sensitive, skilled, and have received the necessary training, support, tools, and supervision. This can be accomplished by 1) finding professional facilitators to implement the program, or 2) using a program that includes manuals and additional resources to guide educators, staff, volunteers, and other stakeholders in implementing it effectively.
- Theory-Driven: The program uses a prevention approach that is either evidence-based or based on a logical rationale that takes into account the cultural, political, and economic factors that may contribute to violence.
- Outcome Evaluation: The program uses systematic outcome evaluation to determine whether it is meeting its predetermined measures of effectiveness, highlight successes and challenges, and foster ideas for program improvement or revisions.