Interpersonal Violence: Global Impact and Paths to Prevention

Authors: James Mercy, Susan Hillis, Alexander Butchart, Mark A. Bellis, Catherine Ward, Xiangming Fang, Mark Rosenberg


Interpersonal violence is a global public health problem that disproportionately impacts low- and middle income countries (LMICs). Children, adolescents and young adults, both males and females, are its primary victims.  The consequences of experiencing interpersonal violence are pervasive and enduring, increasing the risk of injury, infectious diseases such as HIV, mental health problems, reproductive health problems, and non-communicable diseases.  Given the high prevalence of interpersonal violence and its extensive consequences, the associated economic impact is substantial.  The evidence base for preventing interpersonal violence is growing, but is largely based on research conducted in high-income countries.  Key challenges moving forward include building the evidence base for cost effective programs and policies in LMICs as well as the infrastructure needed to support the dissemination, scaling up, and sustenance of effective programs and policies.  Interpersonal violence can be prevented if governments, their citizens, and the global community start now, act wisely, and work together. 


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