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Timeline of Violence as a Public Health Problem

1979The 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.

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.


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


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


The Surgeon General's Workshop on Violence and Public Health focuses the attention of the public health world on violence and encourages all health professionals to become involved.


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.


CDC establishes the Division of Injury Epidemiology and Control.


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


"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."


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.


CDC receives its first congressional appropriations for youth violence prevention.


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.


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 appropriations in 1996 to support both efforts.


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


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


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.


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


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


CDC receives first congressional appropriation for child maltreatment prevention.


CDC and WHO produce the first World Report on Violence and Health – the first comprehensive report on violence as a global public health problem.


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


CDC receives 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. By 2004, the system is in 17 states.


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


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).


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 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.


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.


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.


President Obama releases his plan directing CDC and other scientific agencies to conduct research into the causes and prevention of gun violence in Now Is the Time. The plan is in response to the worst school shooting in an elementary or high school in U.S. history. The plan also calls for an expansion of CDC's National Violent Death Reporting System.


CDC receives an appropriation to expand the National Violent Death Reporting System from 18 to 32 states.