Violence is now seen as a public health problem, but this was not the case a mere 30 years ago. Many factors have contributed to recognizing and accepting that violence can be addressed from the perspective of public health. While in the beginning of the 20th century infectious diseases likepneumonia and tuberculosis were the main causes of death in the United States, since 1965, suicide and homicide have been among the top 15 causes of death in the country. And, in the 1980s, suicide and homicide reached epidemic proportions in the US among certain sections of the society, like minority groups and youth. Today, addressing and preventing violence has become part of the public health system.
Ways to Prevent Violence
It has been recognized that a multi-pronged approach is needed to address the root causes of violence. The causes of violence are very complex. Violence comes from many different social, economic and personal causes. So, any step taken to prevent violence from a public health perspective will require an approach that covers different aspects.
Here are some ways that violence can be prevented:
- Understanding the dangers of weapons and how to prevent accidents
- Speaking openly with family members about personal and financial costs of violence
- Using methods to settle disputes peacefully, without resorting to any violent behavior
- Understanding and practicing self-protection strategies
- Keeping a watch on the kinds of entertainment children and impressionable youth hear and watch
- Working with other parents to make neighborhoods safe for children
- Having agreements with other parents when each parent should interfere in children’s quarrels, so that they do not turn violent
- Taking an active role in programs, such as Neighborhood Watch and Block Clubs
- Ensuring that schools have positive ways to help children expend their energies and utilize their time
- Working with school authorities, police and civic groups to address issues, such as depression and addiction, that result in violence or violent behaviors
- Providing safe and secure means to citizens to dispose unwanted weapons
- Ensuring there are laws enforced to store weapons safely and to address weapons’ violence
- Having outreach and mentoring programs to helps troubled families and youth
- Providing resources and information to community members on how to resolve problems without resorting to violence
- Providing the community with youth-focused and family oriented events and programs
- Working with community groups to develop strategies and plans that deter violence
Violence cannot be addressed or prevented using a single approach. A multi-faceted approach is necessary to prevent violence and this approach should include individuals, families, communities, local governments, civic groups and law enforcement agencies if the community wants to root out violence. Education is always a beneficial resource, as well. And an online public health degree is a great place to start. Parents and neighbors have a responsibility towards their kids and by educating themselves and their kids on violence and its effects can go a long way in preventing violence in the society.
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