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Notice to Readers: First World Report on Violence and Health

On October 3, 2002, the World Health Organization announced the release of the World Report on Violence and Health (WRVH) (1). The report is the first comprehensive review of the problem of violence on a global scale. The goals of the report are to highlight the crucial role that public health has to play in addressing the causes and consequences of violence, to make the case that violence is preventable, and to raise awareness about the problem of violence globally. The report is available at

Each year, approximately 1.6 million persons die as a result of violence, and many more are injured and suffer from a range of physical, sexual, reproductive, and mental health problems. Violence is among the leading causes of death for persons aged 15--44 years worldwide, accounting for 14% of deaths among males and 7% of deaths among females (1). In the United States, violent deaths (i.e., homicide and suicide combined) are the second leading cause of death among persons in the same age group (2).

The report indicates that a science-based public health approach focused on prevention can contribute to reducing violence. The report encourages governments to develop and implement a national plan of action for violence prevention, to enhance data collection and research capacity, to promote primary prevention responses, and to strengthen emergency response systems and services for victims of violence. The report also calls for the integration of violence prevention into social and educational policies and highlights the need for mechanisms to facilitate collaboration and exchange of information on violence and its prevention among international agencies, governments, ministries of health, researchers, and civil society.

WRVH examines a broad spectrum of violence including child abuse and neglect, elder abuse, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, suicide, youth violence, and collective violence (i.e., primarily armed conflict within and between states and the complex emergencies that result from such conflicts).

Additional information about child maltreatment, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, suicide, and youth violence risk factors, prevention, and new research is available at


  1. Krug EG, Dahlberg LL, Mercy JA, Zwi AB, Lozano R. World report on violence and health. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 2002.
  2. CDC. Web-based injury statistics query and reporting system. Available at

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This page last reviewed 10/10/2002