Timeline of Violence as a Public Health Problem

Injury Center 30th Anniversary Timeline of Significant Events
  • 1979

    The United States Surgeon General’s Report, Healthy People, identifies violence as one of the 15 priority areas for the nation.  The report states that violence can be prevented and should not be ignored in the effort to improve the nation’s health.

  • 1980

    A landmark Department of Health and Human Services Report – Promoting Health/Preventing Disease: Objectives for the Nation – establishes the first violence prevention objectives for the nation.

  • 1981

    CDC epidemiologists begin one of the first collaborative efforts with law enforcement to investigate a series of child murders in Georgia.

  • 1983

    CDC establishes the Violence Epidemiology Branch to focus public health efforts on violence prevention.

  • 1985

    CDC investigates a pattern of suicides in Texas, the first demonstrated use of field epidemiological techniques to identify suicide clusters.

    The Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health is released. The Report underscores the importance of addressing interpersonal violence as a public health problem and identifies homicide as a major contributor to health disparities among African Americans.

  • 1986

    CDC establishes the Division of Injury Epidemiology and Control.

    CDC establishes extramural research program to study injuries and violence.

  • 1989

    Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Youth Suicide is released.

  • 1990

    The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System is established by CDC to monitor priority health risk behaviors among adolescents, including violence-related behaviors that contribute markedly to the leading causes of death and disability in the United States.

    “Violent and Abusive Behavior” is included as 1 of 22 public health priority areas in Healthy People 2000. It calls for “cooperation and integration across public health, health care, mental health, criminal justice, social service, education, and other relevant sectors.”

  • 1992

    CDC receives its first congressional appropriations for youth violence prevention.

  • 1993

    A special issue of Health Affairs addresses violence as a public health issue – the first special issue to examine violence as a public health problem.

    CDC establishes the Division of Violence Prevention, one of three within the newly created National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. The Division leads CDC’s efforts to prevent injuries and deaths caused by violence.

    CDC publishes The Prevention of Youth Violence: A Framework for Community Action to mobilize communities to effectively address the epidemic of youth violence sweeping the nation.

  • 1994

    CDC and the National Institute of Justice collaborate on the National Violence against Women Survey. The survey, implemented in 1995-1996, provides the first national data on the incidence and prevalence of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and stalking.

    Congress passes the Violence Against Women Act which authorizes coordinated community responses to prevent intimate partner violence and state block grants for rape prevention and education. CDC receives its first congressional appropriations to address these public health issues.

  • 1996

    The World Health Assembly passes a resolution and declares that “violence is a leading worldwide public health problem.”

    The National Research Council recommends establishing a Federal Task Force on Violence Against Women with CDC as the lead agency.

  • 1999

    The U.S. Surgeon General releases a Call to Action to Prevent Suicide.

  • 2000

    The World Health Organization (WHO) creates the Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention.

    CDC receives a congressional appropriation to establish 10 National Academic Centers of Excellence for Youth Violence Prevention.

  • 2001

    The National Strategy for Suicide Prevention is released by the Department of Health and Human Services.

    The U.S. Surgeon General releases a comprehensive report synthesizing the state of knowledge on youth violence and its prevention.

    CDC receives first congressional appropriation for child maltreatment prevention.

    Administration of the Rape Prevention and Education Program comes to CDC’s Injury Center and becomes the largest program in the Center with funding supporting all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico and 5 U.S. territories.

  • 2002

    CDC establishes Domestic Violence Prevention Enhancements and Leadership Through Alliances (DELTA), a program to focus on primary prevention of intimate partner violence (IPV).

    The World Health Organization and CDC jointly produce the World Report on Violence and Health – the first comprehensive review of violence as a global public health problem. It becomes a catalyst for violence prevention efforts around the world.

    CDC receives congressional appropriation to establish the National Violent Death Reporting System – the first state-based surveillance system to link data from multiple sources with the goal of enhancing violence prevention efforts. Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, South Carolina, and Virginia are the first states to participate in the system.

  • 2004

    CDC begins placing a greater emphasis on the social ecological model to guide violence prevention efforts.

  • 2006

    CDC launches Choose Respect, the first national communication initiative designed to prevent unhealthy relationship behaviors and dating abuse.

  • 2007

    CDC publishes a study that estimated the medical and productivity-related costs of violence in the United States exceed $70 billion each year.

    CDC conducts a national survey on violence against children in Swaziland and publishes the findings in The Lancet. Findings become  a catalyst for change that  lead to a global public-private partnership to end violence against children with a focus on sexual violence against girls (Together for Girls).

  • 2009

    CDC launches the VetoViolence website – a free, online, interactive, and engaging site with violence prevention tools, trainings, and resources based on the best available evidence and research. One year later, the VetoViolence Facebook page is launched and becomes the fifth largest CDC Facebook page with nearly 17,000 fans.

    CDC launches Dating Matters – a comprehensive teen dating violence prevention initiative for 11-14 year olds living in high-risk urban communities.

  • 2010

    CDC’s Domestic Violence Prevention Enhancements and Leadership Through Alliances (DELTA) program is reauthorized under the Family Violence and Prevention Services Act. The reauthorizing language formally uses the DELTA name for the first time.

  • 2011

    CDC releases a report on intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking in the United States. The report is based on data from a new surveillance system, the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS). NISVS was launched by CDC in 2010 with the support of the National Institute of Justice and the Department of Defense.

  • 2012

    The U.S. Surgeon General and the National Action Alliance release the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention to guide prevention efforts over the next decade.

  • 2013

    CDC’s Violence Against Children Surveys (VACS) expand to new regions. The first survey in southeast Asia (Cambodia) is completed.

    CDC releases Essentials for Childhood – its strategic framework for creating safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments for all children. Five states are funded to implement the framework; 24 other states see the short- and long-term benefits of Essentials and begin implementing the framework without CDC funding.

  • 2014

    “Preventing Suicide: A Global Imperative” is released by the World Health Organization. The report is the first of its kind to draw attention to the global problem of suicide.

    CDC receives an appropriation to expand the National Violent Death Reporting System from 18 to 32 states. In 2016, with an additional appropriation, the system is expanded to 40 states, DC, and Puerto Rico.

  • 2016

    CDC, in collaboration with multiple UN and international agencies, releases INSPIRE: Seven Strategies for Ending Violence Against Children to advance the adoption of effective strategies to prevent violence against children in countries around the world.

    CDC releases a suite of Resources for Action, formerly known as, “technical packages,” to help states and communities take advantage of the best available evidence to prevent child abuse and neglect, sexual violence, and youth violence. Resources for Action to prevent suicide and intimate partner violence are released the following year.

  • 2017

    The first VACS in Latin America (Honduras and El Salvador) are completed. The first VACS in Eastern Europe (Moldova) is completed in 2019, bringing the total number of VACS completed worldwide to 23 since the first survey in eSwatini (formerly Swaziland).

    CDC releases a comprehensive report to help states better understand the extent of intimate partner, sexual violence and stalking victimization in their state to guide prevention efforts.

    CDC scientists estimate the economic burden of rape in the United States. The results show a staggering lifetime cost to society of $122,461 per victim for a total lifetime cost to society of nearly $3.1 trillion (in 2014 dollars).

  • 2018

    CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System is expanded to all 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico.

    CDC releases a Vital Signs report showing increases in suicide rates in nearly every state, with increases of more than 30% in 25 states. More than 50% of decedents were not known to have mental health conditions.

  • 2019

    The first findings from CDC’s comprehensive teen dating violence prevention program – Dating Matters – are published and show the program effectively reduces teen dating violence as well as peer violence and bullying.

    CDC releases a Vital Signs report showing that preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences could reduce many health conditions, including up to 1.9 million cases of heart disease, up to 2.5 million cases of overweight/obesity, and up to 21 million cases of depression.

  • 2020

    CDC receives its first congressional appropriations to address Adverse Childhood Experiences and child sexual abuse – public health issues that are linked to many negative health and social outcomes across the lifespan. CDC also receives an appropriation to address the growing problem of suicide in the United States.

    CDC receives its first congressional appropriation in nearly 23 years to conduct research on firearm injury. The agency funds 18 research studies to better understand the underlying causes of firearm violence and effective ways to keep individuals, families, schools, and communities safe from firearm-related injuries, deaths, and crime.

  • 2021

    CDC released a Vital Signs report describing youth exposure to multiple forms of violence and the strong links with 16 health risks and conditions, including missing school, low academic grades, health risk behaviors, and mental health and suicide risks.

    CDC released a Supplement to the American Journal of Public Health to share lessons learned from the National Centers of Excellence in Youth Violence and their work to develop, implement, and evaluate youth violence prevention strategies at the outer layers of the social ecology.