Violence and Injury Prevention

Prevent: June 2008 (Issue 12)


Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa begin child maltreatment country situation reviews
In February 2008, representatives from ministries of health, social development and welfare, national research councils, NGOs, UNICEF and WHO, from Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa participated in a workshop on preventing child maltreatment to promote lifelong health. Opening presentations stressed the importance of child maltreatment as a problem in itself and a major risk factor for unhealthy behaviours and chronic disease across the lifespan. Participants discussed global trends in understanding and preventing child maltreatment, and initiated thinking around how to design and conduct country situation reviews on prevention resources and prevention readiness (i.e. the deep-seated beliefs and attitudes of key policy makers and opinion leaders regarding the prevention of child maltreatment). It is hoped these country situation reviews will serve as platforms for the establishment of national child maltreatment prevention policies and programmes.

For more information, please contact
Dr Olive Kobusingye at
or Dr Alex Butchart at

Ministers of Health of the Americas commit to tackling violence and injury prevention

Ministers of Health of the Americas met in Mexico on 14 March 2008 at the invitation of Dr Cordova Villalobos, Minister of Health of Mexico, to review evidence for the devastating impact of violence and injuries on the peoples of the region and plan their response. Participants unanimously adopted a ministerial declaration pledging commitment to implementing national plans for violence and injury prevention; strengthening prevention programmes that address the root causes; enhancing data collection efforts; and improving victim services. This high-profile gathering of policy makers set the stage for the 9th World Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion.

The Ministerial Declaration can be downloaded at:
Ministerial Declaration on Violence and Injury Prevention in the Americas - English [pdf 78kb]
Ministerial Declaration on Violence and Injury Prevention in the Americas - Spanish [pdf 79kb]

Second Global Meeting of Ministry of Health Focal Points for Injury and Violence Prevention

On 13-14 March, WHO hosted the Second Global Meeting of Ministry of Health Focal Points for Injury and Violence Prevention in Merida, Mexico. The meeting was attended by 62 Ministry of Health focal points from 50 primarily low-income and middle-income countries, representatives of WHO Collaborating Centers and WHO staff from all levels of the Organization. The objectives were to: increase the exchange of ideas and information among the focal points and their peers; further clarify the role of focal points; identify future activities of the informal network, and inform the focal points about WHO products and tools, including the new WHO document Preventing injuries and violence: a guide for ministries of health.

For further information, please contact
Ms Laura Sminkey at

9th World Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion

From 15-18 March 2008, the 9th World Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion was held in Merida, Mexico. The conference, which was co-sponsored by WHO and organized by the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico, drew nearly 1200 scientific participants, of which 538 received full or partial scholarships for their participation. The overall conference theme was globalization, and several presentations highlighted this. Other themes included: child abuse and maltreatment; youth violence; intimate partner violence; suicide and suicidal behaviour; workplace violence; child injuries; road traffic injuries; occupational injuries; sports and recreational injuries; and trauma care services. The dates and venue of the 10 World Conference are to be determined. For further information about the conference, please visit or contact Ms Laura Sminkey at

United Kingdom action plan to prevent violence

In March 2008, the Government of the United Kingdom launched Saving Lives. Reducing Harm. Protecting the Public. An Action Plan for Tackling Violence 2008-11. This multisectoral plan specifies roles for the criminal justice, health and other sectors, and is designed to guide local practitioners in their strategic planning and delivery of the Home Office's priorities with respect to serious violence over the next three years. It takes stock of the current situation and what has been achieved to date, and sets out the vision: to save lives, reduce harm and protect the public. It outlines how an understanding of what works to prevent violence can be applied in each local area, and how government will support the front line in doing this.

For further information, please visit

World Health Assembly calls for intensified international collaboration to reduce public health problems caused by the harmful use of alcohol

On 23 May 2008, the 61st session of the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution on "Strategies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol". This resolution calls for the development of a draft global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol, for presentation to the 2010 World Health Assembly. Alcohol is a leading risk factor for death and disability in the world. During the debate, many governments stressed the important relationship between alcohol and interpersonal and self-directed violence, and unintentional injuries, such as those resulting from road traffic collisions. Member States emphasized an urgent need for action to reduce its harmful effects.

Please find the final resolution on

To learn more about the relationships between violence and alcohol visit ml


March 2008
Guidance for armed violence reduction reviewed.
On 4-5 March 2008 in Sciez, France, the UNDP's Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery hosted a meeting to review a draft guidance document for armed violence reduction. The guidance is intended for Member States belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and its development is coordinated by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC). Reviewers included representatives from the European Commission, UNDP, World Bank and WHO, official development agencies (DFID and SIDA), the Small Arms Survey and NGOs. There was agreement that a strong focus of the guidance should be on reducing interpersonal and criminal armed violence, and that armed violence prevention is most likely to succeed if it combines interventions targeting weapon availability and interventions aimed at root causes and risk factors. The goal is to have a revised draft of the guidance document for distribution to OECD/DAC Member States by the end of June 2008.

For more information, contact
Dr David Meddings at

April 2008
International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Global Summit.
On 8-10 April 2008, the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN, an NGO in official relation with WHO), convened nearly 50 participants from global partner agencies to develop a set of objectives and strategies to inform ISPCAN and the broader child maltreatment prevention field's work in the coming years. Participants included representatives from UNICEF and WHO, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Human Rights Watch, Plan International, Save the Children UK, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Concluding recommendations included strengthening ISPCAN's prevention activities by promoting greater collaboration with evidence-based prevention agencies from public health and criminology, and developing ISPCAN's capacity to work more effectively with governments in promoting improved child maltreatment prevention and protection policies and programmes.

For more information, please visit

June 2008
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2008
On 16-17th June, 2008, in Ottawa, Canada, the International Network for Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) and the Canadian Network for Prevention of Elder Abuse (CNPEA) held a two-day conference to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). The conference was entitled "Building Knowledge and Networks to Address Elder Abuse: Pathways to Human Rights". It focused on innovative approaches to elder abuse in Canada; the status of the implementation of recommendations contained in the UN's Madrid International Plan of Aging 2002, with particular attention to developing countries and countries in transition; elder abuse in the family context; best practice from around the world; and the role of NGOs in advancing the abuse prevention agenda. The conference ended with a five-year action plan to advance the Madrid Plan in its goal of achieving a "world free of abuse and neglect in later life".

For more information, please visit:

Regional Activities
On 25 April 2008 in Washington DC, USA, the World Bank's Sustainable Development Department hosted a workshop to take stock of what is being done in the countries of Central America to prevent crime and violence, with a view to enhancing inter-agency collaboration for advocacy, normative guidance and violence prevention programming. Participants included representatives from the World Bank; the Organization of American States (OAS); the Inter-American Coalition for the Prevention of Violence; the Inter-American Development Bank, UNDP, US State Department; USAID; UN-Habitat; PAHO and WHO. Follow up activities will include work, to be led by PAHO, on developing indicators for violence, improving regional capacity development initiatives, and preparing a crime and violence prevention advocacy document for an upcoming October 2008 ministerial meeting to take place in Mexico City on public security in Central America.

For more information, please contact
Dr Bernice van Bronkhorst at
or Dr Alberto Concha-Eastman at

In May 2008, scientists, government officials, funders, policy researchers and advocates met at the Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to determine how to advance US support for evidence-based prevention of violence within low- and middle-income countries. Participants came together at the invitation of Dr. Bill Foege, Senior Fellow of the Global Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The roundtable was chaired by former US Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, and built upon a June 2007 US Institutes of Medicine Workshop on violence prevention in low- and middle-income countries. As a necessary and first task, meeting participants focused on the opportunities to mobilize funds from the US for global violence prevention commensurate with the scale of the problem and opportunities for success.

For further information
please visit:

On 16 June 2008, a US Congressional briefing heard arguments for why the US should invest more in the prevention of violence in low- and middle-income countries. An overflow audience of 100 plus gathered to hear about how interpersonal, self-directed and collective violence seriously impede development, and how with increased investment in evidence-based prevention strategies much more could be done to prevent it. The briefing was addressed by: Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland (who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee, Judiciary Committee, Environment and Public Works Committee, Budget Committee and Small Business Committee); Dr. Harvey Fineberg, President of the US Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences; Dr Stephen Blount, Director of the Office of Global Health at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Ms Heidi Lehman, senior technical advisor on gender-based violence at the International Rescue Committee, and Ms Fran Henry, Coordinator of Global Violence Prevention Advocacy.

For more information, please contact
Ms Fran Henry at

Eastern Mediterranean
On 1- 5 March 2008, the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO) held a TEACH-VIP training of trainers workshop in Oman. This brought together approximately 25 participants from the EMRO region. Most of the training participants had professional training roles as a central part of their job. The use of regional training of trainer workshops is being increasingly used by WHO as it offers the possibility of amplifying the number of trainers using the TEACH-VIP training materials and making these individuals more effective users of the training content.

For more information, contact
Dr David Meddings at


Third Biennial Meeting of States on Programme of Action for Small Arms
From 14-18 July 2008 at the UN Headquarters in New York, Member States will meet to discuss the implementation of the Programme of Action to deal with illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. This programme of action was adopted in 2001 and refers mainly to weapons management and disarmament aspects but also stresses that Member States should approach the prevention of illicit trade by reducing demand for small arms. WHO has consistently made the case that preventing armed violence is the most direct way to reduce demand for small arms.

For more information, contact
Dr David Meddings at

Second review meeting for development assistance guidance for armed violence reduction
Following on from an earlier review held in Sciez, France, a second meeting of the Armed Violence Reduction Critical Review Panel will take place in Paris, France on 4-5 September 2008. The panel will review the revised draft guidance document for armed violence reduction intended to assist OECD Member States to better utilize development assistance funds for the prevention of armed violence.

For more information, contact
Dr David Meddings at

Regional Capacity Development and Training Events
ISPCAN International Congress on Child Abuse and Neglect
On 7-10 September 2008, the 17th ISPCAN International Congress on Child Abuse and Neglect will be held in Hong Kong.
For further information, please visit

1st World Conference on Women's Shelters
On 8-11 September 2008, the 1st World Conference on Women's Shelters will be held in Edmonton, Canada.
For further information, please visit

17th International Safe Communities Conference
On 20-23 October 2008, the 17th International Safe Communities Conference will be held in Christchurch, New Zealand.
For further information, please visit

Violence Prevention Alliance 2008 Annual Meeting
On 2-3 December 2008 the annual Violence Prevention Alliance meeting will take place in Washington DC, US.
For further information, please contact
Dr Christopher Mikton at


Violence Prevention Alliance unveils new web site
The Violence Prevention Alliance has extensively revamped its web site, adding a number of new features. The current focus is on the following: an exciting new searchable database on what works in violence prevention developed by Liverpool John Moores University in the UK, which will be an invaluable resource for all those involved in evidence-based violence prevention; a recently-launched WHO/VPA document on violence prevention and international development assistance, which will be the main focus of VPA activities in the next two years; and an updated list of VPA participants, including all those who have recently joined.
Please visit

Preventing violence and reducing its impact: how development agencies can help
The impact of violence on development too often remains ignored by those who have the possibility to act on it. This document makes the case for increased attention by international development agencies to violence prevention. A key aim is to stimulate dialogue on the role of international development agencies in the prevention of violence globally and to increase investment in a commonly agreed set of applied violence prevention strategies. The primary audience for this document is policy-makers, high-level planners, and others in the international development field. It will be particularly useful for those with decision-making authority in setting the international development agenda, and those who influence and shape donor policy.
Please find the document at

Manual for estimating the economic costs of injuries due to interpersonal and self-directed violence
This manual is a joint publication of WHO and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It fills a gap in the area of normative guidance on how to assess the economic impact of the two most prevalent forms of violence. Of the annual toll of 1.6 million deaths worldwide due to violence, 86% are due to interpersonal and self-directed violence combined. For every death, there are 10-40 times as many injuries severe enough to warrant medical attention. These consequences produce massive direct and indirect costs, which can hinder economic development, increase socioeconomic inequality, and erode human and social capital. Yet, in most countries, systematic research into these economic impacts of violence is almost totally lacking. The manual provides simple, systematic guidance on how to measure: (1) direct medical costs arising from violence-related injuries and deaths, such as the costs of hospitalization, of outpatient visits and of transport to hospital; and (2) indirect costs, specifically productivity losses, arising because of violence-related injuries and deaths. The manual includes case studies from Brazil, Jamaica and Thailand to demonstrate how the guidance has been implemented in a range of settings with different levels of existing data.
Please find the document at

Primary prevention of intimate partner violence and sexual violence: background paper
This background paper (based on a draft prepared for an April 2007 expert meeting on preventing intimate partner violence and sexual violence), explores what can be done to prevent violence against adolescent and adult women that occurs within intimate relationships, and sexual violence that occurs outside intimate relationships. In a public health framework, primary prevention means reducing the number of new instances of intimate-partner violence and sexual violence by intervening before any violence occurs. The impact of primary prevention is measured at population level by comparing the frequency with which either victimization or perpetration occurs. Primary prevention relies on identification of the underlying risk and protective factors for intimate-partner violence and/or sexual violence, and action to address those factors. Its aim is to reduce rates of intimate partner violence and sexual violence.
Please find the document at