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Project Information

Project Information

Addressing the Social and Cultural Norms that Underlie the Acceptance of Violence: A Workshop

Project Scope:

An ad hoc committee will plan a 2-day public workshop to explore the cultural and social norms that underlie the acceptance of violence, and particularly violence against women, children, and youth throughout the globe. Defined by the World Health Organization as the rules or expectations of behavior within a specific cultural or social group, these often unspoken norms offer social standards of appropriate and inappropriate behavior that govern what is (and is not) acceptable in our interactions with others. Social or cultural norms are highly influential over individual behavior in a broad variety of contexts, including violence and its prevention due to the fact that norms can create an environment that can either foster or mitigate violence and its deleterious effects. The workshop discussions will focus on the characteristics, contextual variations, and social determinants related to social and cultural norms in this context; what is known about the effectiveness of efforts to alter those norms in order to prevent and mitigate such violence; and the role of multiple sectors and stakeholders in its prevention. These discussions will pull from a broad variety of disciplines and perspectives, including the judicial and criminal justice sectors, public health, diplomacy, public safety, human rights, and policy. To these ends, the workshop will feature invited presentations and discussions to examine the following questions:

1)    What are cultural and social norms and how do they develop and differ in relation to violence throughout the globe? What role do social determinants play in their development and influence in this context?

2)    In what ways do cultural and social norms intersect with violence and violence prevention efforts in this context? And in what ways do they act as protective factors against violence and in what ways do they act to encourage or foster violence within a community or region?

3)    How do social and cultural norms intersect with human rights and their abrogation in relation to violence and violence prevention efforts? How does this intersection vary throughout the globe?

4)    In what ways does exposure to violence/chronic trauma influence or impact underlying cultural and social norms across the lifespan?

5)    What are the current gaps in knowledge regarding cultural and social norms and their relationship with violence? What public health/clinical interventions show promise in altering those cultural and social norms in order to reduce the burden of these forms of violence? What are the opportunities for collaboration amongst stakeholders?

6)    What are the intervention opportunities within policymaking or the judicial/criminal justice sectors? Are there successful initiatives, frameworks, and efforts that can build upon gains in reduction of child marriage, FGM and other forms of violence in some countries?

The committee will develop the workshop agenda, select and invite speakers and discussants, and moderate the discussions. Experts will be drawn from the public and private sectors as well as from academic organizations to allow for multi-lateral, evidence-based discussions. A proceedings in brief of the presentations and discussions at the workshop will be prepared in accordance with institutional guidelines.

Status: Current

PIN: IOM-BGH-15-06

RSO: Taylor, Rachel M.


Behavioral and Social Sciences
Health and Medicine
Policy for Science and Technology

Geographic Focus:

Committee Membership

Valerie Maholmes
Evelyn Tomaszewski
Elizabeth Ward



No data present.