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Collective violence: War 

Collective violence: War
Collective violence: War

Victor W. Sidel

and Barry S. Levy

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date: 16 May 2022

Three types of violence—self-directed, interpersonal, and collective—have been defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its efforts to urge public health workers to consider violence prevention as an important public health issue. This chapter deals with collective violence, which includes war, terrorism, and their health consequences, and suggests public health approaches to prevention of collective violence and promotion of justice and peace. These approaches include the following: Conducting research on the health and environmental consequences of collective violence; educating public health workers, the public, and decision makers on the impact of collective violence on health and environment; intervening to prevent collective violence or to end it; and advocating for changes in attitudes and policies on the public health aspects of collective violence.

Public health workers have a responsibility to promote four levels of prevention of collective violence as well as to promote peace and justice. Pre-primary prevention consists of alleviating the underlying causes of armed conflict. Primary prevention consists of preventing specific conflicts from turning into collective violence. Secondary prevention is minimizing the health consequences of collective violence and ending the violence. Tertiary prevention is the rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of the violence into society, the remediation of the physical, social, cultural, and economic damage, and the prevention of recurrence of the collective violence.

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