Violence and Injury Prevention

"Explaining away violence" poster series

WHO has commissioned three series of violence prevention posters, each depicting images relating to various forms of violence. The "Explanations" series features victims of violence and the accounts they give to explain away their injuries, touching upon the shame and taboo which surround violence in many cultures. The concepts for these posters were selected from a group of eight different poster concepts, after broad consultation with key WHO violence prevention partners worldwide.

The posters, prepared by Fabrica, the renowned creative design company based in Venice, Italy, serve as visual support to the awareness-raising Global Campaign for Violence Prevention and the World report on violence and health. The posters are currently available in English and French.


"I'm playing hide and seek"

Poster text reads: "Each year more than 1.6 million people worldwide lose their lives to violence. For everyone who dies as a result of violence, 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 people aged 15-44 years worldwide, accounting for about 14% of deaths among males and 7% of deaths among females in that age group. Because it is so pervasive, violence is often seen as an inevitable part of the human condition."

"I got kicked playing football"

Poster text reads: "Every year violence kills an estimated 200 000 young people aged 10-29 years: more than 540 deaths every day. For each young person killed by violence, an estimated 20-40 suffer injuries that require hospital treatment. Among young people involved in violence and delinquent behaviour, the presence of alcohol, drugs or weapons enhances the likelihood that injuries or deaths will be associated with violence."

"I fell out of my cradle"

Poster text reads: "Millions of children are abused and neglected by their parents or other caregivers. In some studies, 25-50% of children report severe and frequent physical abuse, including being beaten, kicked or tied up by parents. It is estimated that there were 57 000 homicides among children under 15 years of age worldwide in 2000. Very young children are at greatest risk: homicide rates among children aged 0-4 years are more than twice those among children aged 5-14 years."

"I fell down the stairs"

Poster text reads: "Violence by intimate partners occurs in all countries and cultures, although some populations are at greater risk than others. The overwhelming burden of partner violence is borne by women at the hands of men. Studies show that 40-70% of female murder victims are killed by their husbands or boyfriends, frequently in the context of an ongoing abusive relationship. In some countries as many as 69% of women report being physically assaulted by an intimate male partner at some point in their lives."

"I enjoy spending my days alone"

Poster text reads: "Abuse of older people is increasingly being recognized as a serious social problem. Older men and women are both at risk of abuse by spouses, adult children and other relatives. Surveys suggest that 4-6% of older people experience some form of abuse in the home. Mistreatment in institutions may be more widespread than generally believed. In cultures where women have inferior social status, older women are at risk of being abandoned when they are widowed and having their property seized."

"I ran into the door"

Poster text reads: "Available data suggest that in some countries nearly 1 in 4 women report sexual violence by an intimate partner, and up to one-third of girls report forced sexual initiation. Data also suggest that hundreds of thousands of women and girls throughout the world are bought and sold into prostitution each year, or subjected to sexual violence in schools, workplaces and health care institutions."

"I was scratched by the cat"

Poster text reads: "About 815 000 people kill themselves worldwide every year, roughly one person every 40 seconds. For people aged 15-44 years, self-inflicted injuries are the fourth leading cause of death globally. Studies suggest that there are on average 20 attempted suicides for every completed suicide."

"I have something in my eye"

Poster text reads: "The 20th century was one of the most violent periods in human history. An estimated 191 million people lost their lives directly or indirectly as a result of conflict, over half of whom were civilians. It is currently estimated that more than 800 people die every day as a direct result of conflict: more than 30 deaths each hour. Besides the many thousands killed each year, there are huge numbers who are injured, many of whom remain permanently disabled. A range of health problems, including malnutrition, increasing risk of infectious disease, and depression and anxiety also occur as a result of conflict."

Contact us

Ms. Laura Sminkey
Communications Officer
sminkeyl@who.int
Tel.: +41 22 791 45 47
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