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Potentiall Violent Environments ImageEffective Early Response is the prompt mobilization of a team of experienced professionals to stabilize an environment and design and manage a process for transition to full recovery and renewal. This applies in the international sphere in conflict and violence prevention as part of a long-term commitment to building peace, to domestic situations such as emerging internal conflicts in race relations and environmental disputes, and to potential or actual incidents of violence in schools, workplaces, and communities.

How the ER Unit Works

There are several environments and situations which could quickly become violent if preventive actions are not taken.

Unresolved land claims, highly-charged environmental disputes, troubled inner city schools and fragile countries each have a unique mix of triggering factors that need to be identified and addressed. The ER Unit follows a simple four-stage model to deliver an integrated, customized intervention. Assistance and support is provided at any stage should violence have broken out.


4 stage intervention model

Some of the main services the ER Unit provides are:

Early Assessment Using an Holistic Framework

  • Situational Analysis
  • Managing internal and external communications, rumor control, media relations
  • Identifying latent and manifest triggers for violence
  • Identifying existing structures, actors and factors that support stability
  • Identifying key power dynamics
  • Conducting a Force Field Analysis
  • Designing a Full Intervention

Crisis Management

  • Mobilizing and integrating security measures
  • Shuttle diplomacy between opposing sides
  • Mediation and/or negotiation to end violence
  • Dialogues to bridge differences
  • Ongoing advocacy and action to support stability
  • Crisis debriefing

Transition Management

  • Post-incident trauma recovery services
  • Reconciliation activities, both individual and institutional
  • Building support networks
  • Dispute resolution system design and services

Recovery and Renewal

  • Consolidating Values and Visions
  • Building consensus on Strategic Goals and Plans
  • Building Capacity through Training  and Coaching
  • Identifying lessons learned for the client

Effective Early Response requires the following key elements:

  • prompt mobilization to any place in the world
  • a team of experienced professionals from several key disciplines
  • comprehensive analysis of conflict and violence
  • sound judgment
  • ability to earn and retain trust
  • non partisanship
  • operational capability
  • staying power
  • connection to back-up resources
  • ability to advocate for proper resources to create a secure environment
The CIIAN Advantage

The Institute has a fifteen year track record in theory-informed practice in negotiation, facilitation, mediation, peace process design, peacebuilding, and violence prevention. The CIIAN AdvantageCIIAN is dedicated to the prevention of violence and peacebuilding, both in domestic environments and internationally. Its staff and consultants have worked in cases which range form allegations of physical and sexual abuse, reconciliation at the community level, to peacebuilding in highly conflicted and violent settings.

The Institute's co-founder and ER Unit Director, Dr. Ben Hoffman, recently the Director of Conflict Resolution at The Carter Center, is an internationally recognized senior practitioner with extensive experience in complex environments including engagement with rebel groups, peace process design, negotiation strategy advice, crisis intervention and mediation of inter-personal, organizational, community and international conflicts.CIIAN is the home of the International Peace and Prosperity Project, a violence prevention project in Guinea-Bissau. Based on this experience CIIAN has developed a model for violence prevention in fragile, failing and failed states. CIIAN is a member of the Canadian Peacebuilding Coordinating Committee, the International Consortium for Conflict Prevention and a member of the Washington, DC-based Alliance for Peacebuilding

Members of the ER Unit
  • Dr. Ben Hoffman (Canada) - Mediator & Peacebuilder
  • Brigadier Vere Hayes (re't) (UK) - Security and Military Specialist
  • Mr. Jeff Mapandere (Zimbabwe) - Security and Rebel Groups Specialist
  • Ms. Frema Engel (Canada) - Social Work & Workplace Violence Specialist
  • Dr. Charles Emmrys (Canada) - Psychologist
  • Insp. Dan Hefkey (Canada) - Law Enforcement, Emergency Management, and Civilian Policing

Two new ER courses are currently under development:

  • Intervention Techniques For First Responders to Incidents of Possible or Actual Violence
  • Creating Institutional Plans to Mitigate Against the Threat of Violence
  • ER Resources

    Download Word Document Icon ER Unit Brochure

    Download PDF Preventing Political Violence:Towards a Model For Catalytic Action

    Contact Us

    Please contact us to discuss contracting arrangements with the ER Unit.

    Click here for CIIAN contact details