Violence and Injury Prevention

General Information about the World report on violence and health


  • To describe the magnitude and impact of violence throughout the world
  • To describe the key risk factors for violence
  • To summarize the types of intervention and policy responses that have been tried and what is know about their effectiveness
  • To make recommendations for action at local, national and international levels


The Report examines a broad spectrum of violence including child abuse and neglect by caregivers, youth violence, violence by intimate partners, sexual violence, elder abuse, suicide, and collective violence. One chapter is devoted to each of these seven topics. The Report also includes a statistical annex with country and regional data derived from the WHO Mortality and Morbidity Database and a list of resources for violence prevention.

Main messages

  • Violence is a major public health problem worldwide. Each year, millions of people die as the result of injuries due to violence. Many more survive their injuries, but live with a permanent disability. Violence is among the leading causes of death among people aged 15-44 years worldwide, accounting for 14% of deaths among males and 7% of deaths among females.
  • In addition to death and disability, violence contributes to a variety of other health consequences. These include depression, alcohol and substance abuse, smoking, eating and sleeping disorders, and HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Violence, however, is preventable – it is not an intractable social problem or an inevitable part of the human condition. The wide variation in violence among and within nations over time suggests that violence is the product of complex, yet modifiable social and environmental factors.
  • Violence results from interplay of individual, relationship, community, and societal factors. Some of the factors associated with violence include a history of early aggression, impulsiveness, harsh punitive discipline, poor monitoring and supervision of children, associating with delinquent peers, witnessing violence, drug trafficking, access to firearms, gender and income inequality, and norms that support violence as a way to resolve conflict.
  • Creating safe and healthy communities around the globe requires commitment on the part of multiple sectors at the international, national and community levels to document the problem; build the knowledge base; promote the design and testing of prevention programmes; and promote the dissemination of lessons learned.
  • A science-based public health approach focused on prevention may contribute to reducing violence. Public health officials have a very important role to play in this process. Through their vision and leadership, much can be done to establish national plans and policies for violence prevention, to help facilitate the collection of data to document and respond to the problem, to build important partnerships with other sectors, and to ensure an adequate commitment of resources to prevention efforts.