8th Milestones of a Global Campaign for Violence Prevention Meeting
Ottawa, Canada, 19-20 October 2017
Hosted by the Government and the Public Health Agency of Canada on behalf of WHO, Milestones 2017 convened approximately 250 international participants from some 50 countries, including government officials and other policy-makers, professionals, researchers, NGO representatives and survivors of violence. The inspiring speeches of the Canadian Ministers of Health, Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor, and Status of Women, Hon. Maryam Monsef, underlined the importance of, and their commitment to, national and global violence prevention.
The meeting theme was "Translating Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) violence prevention targets into national and local action.” It reviewed what violence prevention stakeholders at global, regional and national levels are doing to advance the implementation of policies and programmes to achieve SDG targets covering violence against children (SDG target 16.2), violence against women and girls (SDG target 5.2), school-based violence (SDG target 4.a), and homicide (SDG target 16.1). For each of these sessions and the one on elder abuse (for which there is no specific SDG target), there was a presentation on the state of the science, following which three panellists each provided brief comments on challenges to scaling up and possible solutions. In addition, there were sessions covering:
- National and global violence prevention efforts: Several international agencies provided a snapshot of their violence prevention activities for the next two or three years, with a focus on countries where they are planning to work and the forms of violence covered. The overall picture indicated activity concentrations and gaps which will help to enhance coordination and collective impact.
- “Violence, Evidence, Guidance, Action: A public health response to family violence”: Canadian violence prevention practitioners presented their efforts to develop national, evidence-based public health guidance, curricula and tools for health and social service professionals and discuss what implications these efforts have for Canada and the world.
- Children’s perspectives: The Global Partnership to End Violence against Children selected young people from their pathfinder countries to provide their perspectives on violence.
- Others covered included violence and indigenous populations, cyber violence, school-based violence prevention and evaluating intervention effectiveness, which took place in the form of four interactive roundtable discussions.
WHO Clinical guidelines for responding to sexual abuse of children and adolescents (http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/violence/clinical-response-csa/en/), and the WHO Violence Prevention Information System (Violence Info) (see http://apps.who.int/violence-info/) were both launched at the meeting.
Achievements and key outcomes:
- Participation of a wide range of sectors and stakeholders.
- Several low- and middle-income countries, especially in Central and South America, were represented, some for the first time.
- Identification of countries in which different agencies are supporting violence prevention activities and the aspects of prevention they include. This will enhance coordination and collective impact.
- Recognition of the need to better communicate with policy-makers and the public regarding the wealth of prevention knowledge that already exists.
- A better understanding of how common interventions can prevent multiple types of violence, and with this the need to collaborate across types of violence.
- Need to explicitly recognize that violence is not only a consequence but also a risk factor for the development of health risk behaviours (such as the harmful use of alcohol, cigarette smoking, physical inactivity and over-eating (leading to obesity), risky sexual behaviour); and consequently for the development of noncommunicable diseases (such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases).
- Call for greater involvement of law enforcement professionals and survivors of violence in violence prevention efforts.
- Reaffirmation of Canada’s strong support for global violence prevention activities.
Stephanie Burrows, Zara Quigg & Nadia Butler
Harriet MacMillan & Nadine Wathen
National violence prevention efforts