Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Laura Kohn-Wood

Second Committee Member

Donna Coker

Third Committee Member

Scotney Evans

Fourth Committee Member



Currently, the “violence against women” (VAW) frame that informs dominant responses to gender violence has had limited success. This frame often excludes victims who are men, gender diverse, and those of sexual minorities, and the omissions have resulted in collateral harms to victims and communities. Scholars and community psychologists have noted the need for multilevel, ecological, and multidimensional gender violence interventions and preventions. Some community-based organizations are responding to the limitations of the VAW frame by using restorative justice and/or transformative justice/community accountability social change strategies within social settings to understand and address gender violence. This study used interpretive phenomenology to establish the nature and function of these social change actions and to ascertain how these changes may be effective for shifting the VAW frame. This shift thus reduces gender violence and changes the social conditions that perpetuate gender violence. Findings of in-depth interviews with 11 representatives of seven U.S. community-based organizations revealed four themes and showed that community-based organizations focused on multileveled preventions that address the health of community’s relationships, support the community’s capacity and agency, and innovatively orient resources to prevent gender violence. These findings reinforce the understanding of and need for more nuanced and integrated understanding of gender violence as well as more multileveled approaches that center the agency of those most impacted by gender violence.


Restorative Justice; Transformative Justice; Community Psychology; Gender Violence; Violence against Women; Community-Based Organizations