discusses some of these advances and offers insight for improved intervention design and
sharing strategies for population level approaches to violence prevention within Chicago
The policy approaches highlighted in this Part fall within three essential
strategies: (1) emphasizing healing through positive relationships; (2) focusing on human
capital and positive identity formation; and (3) committing to collective impact. While
there are certainly other types of population level strategies that are a meaningful part of
the solution to community violence, such as the CURE Violence approach to shifting
social norms,85 this Article take the three strategies denoted above as vital elements for
meaningful, long-term interventions that lead to sustained reductions.
Central to each of the strategies discussed in this Part is a fundamental belief in
the ability of young people to make major positive changes in their lives, even those who
are already involved in violence. As leading practitioners86 in the field of youth violence
prevention have pointed out, the current societal paradigm for understanding adolescent
misbehavior frames young people as “either ‘sick’ or deficient in moral character,” both
of which present them as fundamentally defective.87 In contrast, trauma theory frames the
issue as involving injured individuals who are “in need of healing.”88 Rather than
treatment or punishment, trauma theory framework invites other practitioners to use a
paradigm of healing and recovery to address the harms that youth have suffered and the
resulting misbehaviors.89 Research indicates that the injuries resulting from trauma and
poverty are real, and in the absence of outside support, may grow and even become self-
[A] child experiences strong, frequent, and/or prolonged adversity—such as physical or
emotional abuse, chronic neglect, caregiver substance abuse or mental illness, exposure
to violence, and/or the accumulated burdens of family economic hardship—without
adequate adult support. This kind of prolonged activation of the stress response systems
can disrupt the development of brain architecture and other organ systems, and increase
the risk for stress-related disease and cognitive impairment, well into the adult years.
Toxic Stress: The Facts, CENTER ON DEVELOPING CHILD,
(last visited May 5, 2014).
85 CURE Violence is an international violence prevention training organization rooted in an
epidemiological framework. See What We Do, CURE VIOLENCE,
visited Mar. 19, 2014). Although CURE Violence is recognized as a leader in this field, its framework does
not address underlying trauma or cumulative disadvantage. See The Model, CURE VIOLENCE,
http://cureviolence.org/what-we-do/the-model/ (last visited May 5, 2014) (describing the focus of the
model as violence and community norms, with no reference to trauma or community disadvantage).
86 MacArthur Genius awardee John Rich and his colleague Theodore Corbin of the Center for Nonviolence
and Social Justice at Drexel University. See JOHN RICH ET AL., DREXEL UNIV. CTR. FOR NONVIOLENCE &
SOC. JUSTICE, HEALING THE HURT: TRAUMA-INFORMED APPROACHES TO THE HEALTH OF BOYS AND
YOUNG MEN OF COLOR (2009). See the MacArthur Foundation website for additional information,
87 Id. at 6.