Public health and violence prevention

Curr Issues Public Health. 1995;1:2-9.


PIP: This paper briefly examines the rationale for public health involvement in solving the problem of violence. It explains the public health approach and describes the problem of violence in the US. In the US, violence among young people is currently an epidemic out of control, and in most parts of the country. It is probably youth-related violence that accounts for increased public concern with and fear of violence. It is in this concern that public health has considered violence because public health complements criminal justice approach to the problem. Where criminal justice emphasizes punishment, deterrence, incapacitation, public health focuses on primary prevention. Public health also balances law enforcement, judicial, and penal personnel with the people resources, and organization of the physical and mental health care systems. It is important to note that violence is not based in biologic or medical conditions but is due to social and economic factors. The search for solution to this problem should focus on these factors rather than purely medical and physiologic factors. Furthermore, violence is also a global problem, with interpersonal violence, ethnic violence, and national conflict being interrelated. The solutions are all interrelated, not only from the standpoint of the issues, but also from the standpoint of public health approach.

MeSH terms

  • Americas
  • Behavior
  • Developed Countries
  • Health
  • North America
  • Public Health*
  • Research*
  • United States
  • Violence*