How is it possible to disrupt a violent attack before it happens?
By understanding what is actually happening in the attack process it is possible to defend yourself against a violent attack without resorting to violence.
Once the process is something you understand you can train in methods to deal with it, be they psychological or physical.
You can develop skills to react to the threat, nullify it or avoid it. Personal safety aside, once you are closer to a potentially dangerous situation, there really are things you can do to avoid violence.
Understanding the threat process
I know this might be stating the obvious, but understanding what is really happening when you are being set up to be attacked is the key to avoiding it.
To do this we can use violent assault or attack “models” such as “The 5 stages of violent crime” or a “crime triangle” to help analyse what is happening.