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Violence is a major public health problem worldwide. Each year, over 1.6 million people lose their lives to violence. Violence is among the leading causes of death for people aged 15-44 years of age worldwide, accounting for 14% of deaths among males and 7% of deaths among females. For every person who dies, as a result of violence, many millions more are injured and suffer from a range of physical, sexual, reproductive, and mental health problems.
The World report on violence and health is the first comprehensive review of the problem of violence on a global scale – what it is, who it affects and what can be done about it. The report attempts to dispel the hopelessness that often accompanies any discussion on violence. Violence is preventable – it is not an intractable social problem or an inevitable part of the human condition. It is a multifaceted problem with biological, psychological, social, and environmental roots. There is no simple or single solution to the problem. Violence must therefore be addressed on multiple levels and in multiple sectors of society simultaneously.
This report illustrates not only the human toll of violence but also exposes the many faces of interpersonal, collective, and self-directed violence. Far from being a well-reported phenomenon that unfolds in the limelight of front-page stories, many acts of violence, as the report shows, are in fact hidden from public view and go unreported.
The report describes the magnitude and impact of violence throughout the world; examines the key risk factors for violence; gives an account of the types of intervention and policy responses that have been tried, and summarizes what is known about their effectiveness; and makes recommendations for action at local, national, and international levels.
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