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Interpersonal violence: Previous page | 1,2,3,4

  :: Table of contents
  1. Definition
  2. Burden of disease
  3. Risk factors
  4. Prevention

Despite the fact that many risk factors are shared by different subtypes of interpersonal violence, most prevention activities in this field are highly segmented and tightly focused upon specific sub-types of violence. For instance, child abuse and neglect prevention, intimate partner violence prevention and youth violence prevention each proceed in large measure independently of one another. While these sectoral programmes are important in that they can draw upon the organising power of special interest groups, the World Report on Violence and Health notes that there is much to be gained by promoting an integrated approach to the prevention of interpersonal violence in all its forms. Two global projects are aimed at helping to build this integrated response. First, the development of a framework document for the prevention of interpersonal violence, and second a guide to United Nations resources for the prevention of interpersonal violence. There are also a number of regional activities that promote an integrated response to preventing interpersonal violence.

Global Level Prevention

Framework document for the prevention of interpersonal violence . Under the working title "Safer lives: a shared agenda for preventing interpersonal violence" WHO is preparing a document that will provide guidance to governments (at both national and local level) on practices, policies and advocacy strategies for improving national capacity to prevent interpersonal violence. The Framework development document has served as the platform for a number of international consultative meetings to inform this project.

- Framework development document

Guide to United Nations resources and activities for the prevention of interpersonal violence. This Guide aims at helping to achieve the right to freedom from violence by describing the resources and activities of the many different United Nations agencies working to address the problem. The Guide demonstrates how each agency brings to the field its own competencies and its own thematic focus, as determined by its mission and objectives. It also shows what the different agencies do to help identify the gaps where further action is required, and highlights the areas of potential synergy. It describes the programmes, publications and databases to make these resources more readily available to prevention partners at global, regional and national levels. Finally, the Guide provides contact details for focal points within each agency to facilitate communication.

- Guide to United Nations resources and activities for the prevention of interpersonal violence

Economic dimensions of interpersonal violence. This project examines the direct and indirect costs of interpersonal violence, in terms of the financial and human costs associated with its consequences, and the financial and human costs associated with attempts to control and prevent it. Studying the economic dimensions of interpersonal violence is important to prevention for at least two sets of reasons. First, it helps to better understand the societal implications of interpersonal violence, and second it provides the basis for cost-effectiveness studies and comparisons of public health and criminal justice approaches to prevention and control. This information will be a valuable source of materials for advocacy arguments aimed at increasing financial and human investment in preventing interpersonal violence. The project involves a comprehensive review of the grey and published literature on the topic for all regions of the world, and is scheduled for completion in mid 2003.

Good practices project. An important objective of WHO’s Violence Prevention work is to identify practices around the world that are effective in reducing the amount and severity of interpersonal violence, and to examine how and why they work. Once identified, these practices can be described and collated into easily accessible compendiums for dissemination through documents, scientific networks and the Internet. To build a database of good practices, it is necessary to have a tool for identifying, evaluating and documenting individual programmes according to criteria that specify what counts as a programme for interpersonal violence prevention, and how such programmes rank against performance standards on a number of dimensions. This project is aimed at preparing a handbook for the identification and uniform description of interpersonal violence prevention programmes, and at developing a framework for collecting, analysing and reporting on the information collected. Preparation of the handbook should be complete by the end of 2002 and implementation of the collection and compilation of good practices should begin in 2003.

Interpersonal violence and international law. This project explores how international human rights law, long established in different regional and universal treaties, can be better applied to improve and encourage the prevention of interpersonal violence. Many existing legal instruments contain provisions which directly or indirectly consider the right to a life without violence, and many provisions which can be used to advocate for the prevention of interpersonal violence.

This project report will describe and analyse a range of specific human rights that could be applied to improve the prevention of interpersonal violence and to relieve causes of death and injury due to interpersonal violence. It also identifies the sources of these rights in international human rights law. It shows that there are many opportunities for strengthening states’ commitment to interpersonal violence prevention through the application of human rights instruments to high risk groups and to risk factors, as most states have voluntarily made legal and political commitments to protect the health of individuals and therefore to protect them from interpersonal violence. In many cases, however, the principles in these treaties are not respected and, despite the increasing evidence of its preventability, we are confronted with a tragic reality of high levels of deaths and injuries caused by interpersonal violence.

States need to be motivated to undertake the more effective implementation of existing human rights instruments, and this project will contribute to achieving this by showing how human rights instruments can be used to prevent violence by addressing the rights violated by interpersonal violence and ensuring that the rights which support the pre-requisites for its prevention are upheld.

Regional Level Prevention


  • Activities on the prevention of child sexual abuse, sexual trafficking and female genital mutilation

- Injury Prevention Initiative for Africa (IPIFA)


- PAHO activities on violence prevention
- Interpersonal violence statistics for the Americas
- Reducing violence in selected American countries
- Red Andina de Prevención de Violencia (Andean Net for Violence Prevention)
- Inter-American Coalition for the Prevention of Violence


  • Position paper and situation analysis on interpersonal violence


  • Child abuse and neglect activities and activities on prevention of violence against women Development of training package for social workers Pilot testing in 6 EURO countries


  • Development of a regional plan of action on injury prevention


  • Conducting study on domestic violence and suicide on Chinese women of childbearing age

Interpersonal violence: 1,2,3,4


- Child abuse & neglect
- Youth violence
- Violence against women
- Sexual violence
- Elder abuse and neglect
- Workplace violence

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