Violence Prevention Initiative
Now Available: Preventing Violence in California Volume 1
Why is Violence a Public Health Issue?
Violence is a leading cause of injury, physical and mental disability and death.
Adverse experiences, including exposure to violence, can negatively impact an
individual’s ability to adopt healthy behaviors and manage stress, increasing
their risk of chronic diseases and other serious health issues. Exposure to
violence and chronic stress prenatally, in early childhood or adolescence has
been linked to changes in the developing brain that effect mental health and the
ability to learn.
The consequences of violence, for both victims and perpetrators, are
costly and influence nearly all health and mental health outcomes throughout
life. And just as individuals are traumatized by violence, so are communities.
When violence is prevalent, entire communities can experience trauma, weakened
social ties and lack of economic investment.
By joining together in the interest of statewide public health,
we can maximize violence prevention efforts for greater impact and do more to
recognize and address the connections among the forms of violence. Primary
prevention of both violence perpetration and victimization is important.
Working collectively allows greater use of resources, knowledge
and expertise in ways that can protect individuals and communities from
CDPH's Leadership Role
Although many effective public policy, community-based and programmatic
solutions have been developed and are in place throughout California, the full
range of societal resources must be engaged and mobilized to address multiple
forms of violence. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is taking
the lead in highlighting and framing the role of governmental public health in
addressing interpersonal and community violence.
January 2016, CDPH staff across programs shared data and information about
current program efforts, identified opportunities and challenges, and confirmed
the role of CDPH in preventing violence.
CDPH adopted the Safe States Alliance’s recommended roles to direct the
state public health department in preventing violence. These include:
- Collect, analyze and disseminate data and information
- Develop a statewide public health agenda
- Help build local capacity
- Translate research into practice
- Maximize existing resources and identify potential new funding
- Contribute to national efforts
Develop and implement policy approaches to violence
Current efforts are underway to build the CDPH Violence Prevention
Initiative. These include:
- Develop a statewide violence data report and expanding California’s
Violent Death Reporting System;
- Develop a common language and framework for understanding violence as
a public health issue;
- Create a plan for moving on key priorities and establishing
information on the CDPH Violence Prevention Initiative, contact: email@example.com