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Interpersonal violence: a recent public health mandate 

Interpersonal violence: a recent public health mandate
Interpersonal violence: a recent public health mandate

Rachel Jewkes

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date: 26 January 2022

Interpersonal violence results in 600,000 deaths annually and substantial health and economic costs. Although there is an element of genetic susceptibility, it is largely a social construct and thus inherently preventable. Interpersonal violence encompasses child maltreatment, youth violence, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and elder abuse, and whilst these appear as a disparate set of acts of violence, in fact they are very closely interrelated and perpetrators of one form are at greater risk of perpetrating others, and may also have been victims. This chapter uses an ecological approach to understanding common risk factors and underlying causes and reveals the importance of individual-level, interpersonal- or relationship-level, community-level, and societal factors. Evidence of the preventability of interpersonal violence is demonstrated in the United States, where the prevalence of all forms has declined since 1990. This has not been convincingly attributed to any one intervention, and further suggests that a complex and multilevel programme of interpersonal violence prevention is required, targeting risk factors, and encompassing effective health responses to support victims.

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