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Violence Prevention at CDC

Violence is a serious problem in the United States (U.S.). From infants to the elderly, it affects people in all stages of life. In 2016, more than 19,000 people were victims of homicide and nearly 45,000 people took their own life. The number of violent deaths is just part of the story. Many people survive violence and have permanent physical and emotional scars. Violence also erodes communities by reducing productivity, decreasing property values, and disrupting social services.

The Division of Violence Prevention

In 1979, the U.S. Surgeon General identified violent behavior as a key public health priority. In 1980, CDC began studying patterns of violence. This grew into a national program to reduce the death and disability associated with injuries outside the workplace. In 1992, CDC established the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) as the lead federal organization for violence prevention. The Division of Violence Prevention (DVP) is one of three divisions within NCIPC. Its mission is to prevent violence and its consequences so that all people, families, and communities are safe, healthy and free of violence.

DVP is committed to stopping violence before it begins (i.e., primary prevention). The division works to:

  • Monitor violence-related behaviors, injuries, and deaths
  • Conduct research on the factors that put people at risk or protect them from violence
  • Create and evaluate the effectiveness of violence prevention programs, practices, and policies
  • Help state and local partners plan, implement, and evaluate violence prevention efforts
  • Conduct research on the effective adoption and dissemination of violence prevention strategies

A more detailed timeline of violence prevention as a public health issue is available.

Strategic Vision

Learn about the division’s 5-year vision and areas of strategic focus.

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Public Health Approach

Learn about the public health approach to violence prevention.

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Social-Ecological Model

Learn about the Social-Ecological Model: A Framework for Prevention.

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