The Public Health Approach to Domestic Violence Prevention

Damien J. Williams (Lead / Corresponding author), Anna Gavine, John Carnochan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Domestic violence (DV) including intimate partner violence (IPV) and child maltreatment (CM) poses a considerable public health problem. It is evident that DV is associated with a host of health and behavioural consequences, and maltreated children face a significant lifelong burden. Furthermore, the cycle of violence hypothesis, while dismissed by some, suggests that young children exposed to DV are at an increased risk of being victims or perpetrators of such violence in the future. The public health approach to DV focuses on preventing violence from occurring in the first place. Evidence from primary and secondary research suggests that family-based interventions particularly during the child’s early years have the greatest potential in addressing IPV and CM, and subsequently breaking the cycle of DV. However, adopting a life-course perspective identifies additional stages of vulnerability, during which appropriate intervention should occur in order to address DV. While it has been difficult to place DV on the policy agenda, and more needs to be done in this regard, this should not impede, immediate action in terms of implementing evidence-based interventions to support families with young children (e.g., through home visitation programmes) and offering support at each transition in the life-stage (e.g., school enrichment and dating violence intervention programmes) in order to tackle this important public health issue. Ensuring safe and nurturing families offers an important means by which to break the cycle of DV and ensure the health and well-being of future generations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOvercoming Domestic Violence
Subtitle of host publicationCreating A Dialogue Around Vulnerable Populations
EditorsMyra F. Taylor, Julie Ann Pooley, Robert S. Taylor
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-63321-956-4
ISBN (Print)978-1-63321-956-4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Public health
  • Prevention
  • Intimate Partner Violence
  • Child maltreatment
  • Cycle of Violence

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