Why take a Public Health Approach to Violence?
Each year, millions of individuals, families, and communities bear the physical, mental, and economic costs of violence. As a leading cause of injury, disability, and premature death, this issue compromises health and safety. Merely witnessing violent incidents can result in psychological disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and stress. Violence discourages economic development in troubled areas, thereby affecting the accessibility of jobs, healthy food, and safe housing. The physical wellbeing of residents, who stay indoors to avoid violent behavior in their community, can exacerbate health problems.
Fortunately, violence is a learned behavior and is preventable.
The public health approach uses a four-pronged framework to investigate, understand, and address violence by:
- Defining the nature and scope of the violence problem through data collection
- Researching why violence occurs, who it affects, risk and protective factors, and other influences that can be impacted through intervention strategies
- Designing, implementing, and evaluating violence prevention strategies
- Ensuring widespread adoption of evidence-based practices on an individual, family, community, and societal level
Our aim is to stop violence before it starts. Community-wide prevention is the most effective, long-term solution to violence, and the Office of Community Wellness & Safety engages a wide range of partners to facilitate a multidisciplinary, population-level approach to influence the social, behavioral, and environmental factors that contribute to violence. The Office of Community Wellness & Safety brings together agencies, experts, and community resources on efforts that reduce:
- Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence
- Sexual Assault
- Child Abuse
- Human Trafficking
- Children Witness to Violence
- Community Violence
- Gun Violence
- Interpersonal Violence, Intentional injury, and Homicide