Violence Prevention

The Violence Prevention Program is a Program of Study. You must be accepted first to SSA and then by the Program of Study. SSA students apply to Programs of Study during the fall quarter of their first year.


Along with a growing awareness of interpersonal violence in our society has come the emergence of a field of services and knowledge base on violence prevention. Although responding to interpersonal violence after-the-fact has a long history within social work and allied professions, the emerging field of violence prevention offers exciting new opportunities for social workers to contribute to the growing development of services, programs, and policies aimed at reducing interpersonal violence before-the-fact against children, families, and other vulnerable populations. Our Violence Prevention Program prepares students to think strategically and proactively, and to develop the professional knowledge base and competencies enabling them to work across levels and at varied settings, ranging from home- and center-based early prevention services, to school-based youth and domestic violence prevention programs, to advocacy and community-based organizations targeting the prevention of interpersonal violence.


Students interested in violence prevention can take the clinical or social administration concentration. They will have a second-year field placement focused on violence prevention and will take the Seminar in Violence Prevention. In addition, students will select a relevant elective such as Clinical Treatment of Abusive Family Systems, Child and Adolescent Trauma, or Advanced Seminar on Violence and Trauma.

The Seminar provides students with an overview of emerging practices, programs, and policies that aim to prevent violence before-the-fact. And it provides an overview of the common manifestations of interpersonal violence (including child abuse, youth and community violence, and intimate partner violence), examining both their prevalence as well as their consequences. Students are then introduced to conceptual frames from which to understand violence and its before-the-fact prevention, including social, ecological, and public health models of violence prevention. The Seminar then examines such topics as the role of risk and protective factors, screening and assessment for violence potential, evidence-based intervention, programmatic strategies targeting before-the-fact violence prevention, and examples of advocacy efforts promoting broad changes in policy that affect interpersonal violence.

Field Placement

Students can select from a wide variety of field placements that engage students in before-the-fact violence prevention work. Some field placements are located in agencies whose core mission is expressly dedicated to the prevention of interpersonal violence, while others engage in violence prevention work as part of a larger agency mission. Such placements cut across a variety of traditional fields of practice including those providing early childhood supports, advocacy for women, school social work services, services in hospitals, or after school youth development agencies.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the Beatrice Cummings Mayer Program in Violence Prevention are especially well trained to take service and leadership roles in a wide variety of settings that emphasize the prevention of interpersonal violence, such as in the growing home visitation field to prevent child maltreatment, youth development and empowerment programs, schools, and resource centers targeting youth and community violence prevention, as well as such settings as domestic violence shelters, and advocacy organizations. 

Contact Information

Deborah Gorman-Smith, Dean and Emily Klein Gidwitz Professor