Mentors in Violence Prevention

The Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Strategies program was developed in the early 1990s by Jackson Katz and colleagues at Northeastern University in Boston Massachusetts. MVP is based on a peer leadership model that targets not only potential perpetrators of violence and associated behaviors but the role of the “bystander” to these behaviors. The model seeks to empower those who might otherwise be silent observers to situations where bullying and gender violence is unfolding. It has been implemented in high school settings, college settings, the U.S. military, and within professional sports.  


Utilizing a systemic, multi-layered approach to prevention, the MVP program has three primary goals:

  • To increase awareness of the verbal, emotional, technological, physical and sexual abuse that young women and some young men are exposed to and/or experience.
  • To challenge stereotypes that exist within a social setting (e.g. school) about gender/sex and relationships, and how these messages play into gender violence and bullying.
  • To inspire leadership by empowering participants with concrete options to confront and challenge social norms that support bullying and abuse.

MVP Mentors

The MVP model utilizes trained student leaders (MVP mentors) and supportive adults to guide discussions and problem-solving activities around scenarios that depict harassment, bullying and other forms of gender violence. The MVP Playbook contains concrete tools and options for confronting, interrupting and preventing violence which are discussed in small group settings or classes. No specific option is promoted. Rather, the goal is to promote discussion of various safe, non-violent options that could be used when confronting bullying, harassment or abuse.       

The MVP model has been evaluated in multiple high schools throughout the state of Iowa and been shown to:

  • Increase students’ awareness of bullying and abusive behaviors among peers and friends.
  • Increase students’ problem-solving skills, knowledge and understanding of the bystander approach to preventing bullying and gender violence among peers and friends
  • Increase students’ attitudes and their perceptions of other peers’ and friends’ attitudes with respect to interfering and preventing bullying and violence behaviors.
  • Decrease incidents of bullying and gender violence among student populations.

MVP Statewide Technical Assistance Team (STAT)

The Patricia A. Tomson Center for Violence Prevention is pleased to announce the members of the MVP STAT team of experts and professionals who specialize in MVP Strategies training, implementation and evaluation. Members of the MVP STAT team will help support and assist educational leaders as they work to promote and sustain MVP Strategies efforts in their respective secondary schools.