Creating Peace

This study examines, via a cluster-randomized controlled trial, the effectiveness of a trauma-informed, gender transformative youth violence prevention program that integrates racism and discrimination prevention.

The current study builds on the success of the Manhood 2.0 project. These projects tested the effectiveness of a community-based ‘gender transformative’ program to reduce sexual violence and relationship abuse perpetration in partnership with churches, libraries, youth serving agencies, and schools across the Pittsburgh area. Creating Peace builds on this program while integrating a focus on racial justice. In the report on Manhood youth,  a majority of the non-White youth (who make up over 70% of the sample) report experiences of racism. Preliminary results point to meaningful increases in positive bystander behaviors to prevent violent acts.

Creating Peace entails several innovations. First, this project is implemented in community settings, not schools, with Black churches and youth-serving agencies, partnering with the county’s trauma response team to recruit youth exposed to community violence. Second, we have trained facilitators for the program who have direct investment and long-standing relationships with their communities, especially youth. Third, this is the first-ever adaptation of an international intervention to address violence and oppression in a U.S. setting. Fourth, this ‘gender-transformative program’ uses arts-based strategies to explore gender inequity and racial injustice that perpetuate violence. Through Creating Peace, there are opportunities for youth to then share those perspectives with law enforcement officers. Integrating youth-led restorative practices to address implicit bias among law enforcement officers may help mitigate against youth experiences of bias-based discrimination and reduce violence perpetration by strengthening youth-adult connections.