UNH Receives Grant to Examine How Communities Build Capacity to Prevent Violence

Researchers at the Prevention Innovations Research Center at UNH will study how people in communities work together to address violence thanks to a $1.6 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The researchers will evaluate prevention strategies developed by GreenDot, Etc, an organization that provides training and resources necessary to support individuals, institutions and communities in reducing power-based personal violence.

“The study will help us better understand how to assist broader communities, not just schools or campuses, to work together to address complicated problems like interpersonal violence. We know much more about changing people individually than about what moves communities forward as a whole,” said Vicki Banyard, professor of psychology and principal investigator on the grant.

Research on violence prevention has often looked at the impact of classroom or workshop-based strategies. There are a number of programs that show promise in changing the attitudes and behaviors of groups of students using these approaches. But research is also clear that characteristics of communities where those individuals live and work and study are also related to how people think about problems like violence. “We know from research that feeling close to and mattering to people in one’s community is related to lower rates of violence. It is exciting to be translating this research into community-based practice and action,” says Katie Edwards, assistant professor of psychology and women’s studies and an investigator on the grant. “We know that interpersonal violence is a complex problem that will take more than one tool to solve,” says Banyard. “It is time to take prevention to the next level and add community work to our toolkit.”

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