• The Southwestern

National Public Health Week: Violence Prevention

Updated: Jun 25, 2020

This week is National Public Health Week. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, NPHW events on campus have been canceled. However, The Southwestern will cover the topics assigned to each day. Wednesday: Violence Prevention.

Photo provided.

Monday: Mental Health

Tuesday: Maternal and Child Health

Wednesday: Violence Prevention

Thursday: Environmental Health

Friday: Education

Saturday: Healthy Housing

Violence is a leading cause of premature death.

In 2017, the U.S. was home to 39,773 gun-related deaths. Sixty percent of those (23,854) were suicides. About one in three women and one in four men has experienced some form of physical intimate partner violence, and one out of every six women in the U.S. has been the victim of rape or attempted rape.

In the last year, one in seven children reported being victims of child abuse and neglect, though CDC reports that this is likely a low estimate. Violence affects people of all ages and races but has a disproportionate impact on young adults and communities of color. For example, black people are killed by police at three times the rate of white people.

While much more study is needed, research already shows that commonsense gun safety laws can make a difference. For example, researchers found that in the years following Connecticut’s permit-to-purchase handgun law, firearm homicides went down 40%.

More traditional public health interventions can make a difference, too. Home-visiting models have been shown to significantly reduce the risk of child maltreatment. Community-led models can be especially effective when it comes to violence prevention. The innovative Cure Violence model — which takes methods typically associated with disease control and applies them to violence prevention — has resulted in significant drops in local gun violence.

When there is disinvestment in communities, and there’s violence in their neighborhoods, kids are more likely to experience abuse or neglect at home. Community risk factors include high rates of poverty, residential instability, unemployment and a high concentration of places to buy alcohol.

Community development is an effective way to interrupt the cycles of poverty through meeting basic community needs, making a good education available to everyone and investing in communities to improve residents’ financial security.

Violence Prevention and COVID-19

Increased stress can lead to increased aggression, feeding a cycle of violence especially in communities already under strain. And, as APHA member Elena Ong writes in this Public Health Newswire post, "Since the first case of the new coronavirus was reported in Wuhan, China, in December, there’s been a surge in reports of microaggressions, discrimination and violent attacks against people who look Chinese or Asian."

Much of the stress people are feeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is linked to fear fed by misinformation. Help counteract the "infodemic" of bad and troubling information by sharing WHO's mythbustersand resources on APHA's COVID-19 page and Get Ready site. And as Ong reminds us, "let’s fight fear-mongering with principled and visionary leadership."

Provided by NPHW.ORG

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