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Prevention Institute alert: September 30, 2013

PI Article in USA Today Highlights Lessons of Work to Prevent Violence

A special section on preventing violence was included in issues of USA Today distributed in major cities last week. The supplement, also released on-line, examined violence as a public health problem and spotlighted community-based strategies for reducing and preventing it. In an introduction, Linda Degutis of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made it clear that violence CAN be prevented. A commentary by Prevention Institute’s Rachel Davis outlined some of the lessons learned over the past eight years of working with 20 US cities to prevent violence affecting youth through the UNITY initiative. The biggest lesson, Rachel notes, is the need for a comprehensive approach:

Preventing violence is not just a law enforcement issue and can’t be solved solely by cops making arrests. Every city needs a comprehensive plan with strategies that address the underlying reasons for violence. It takes determined leadership by the mayor and widespread participation by city agencies and the community. Cities with the most coordination between the mayor’s office, police department, public health, schools and community groups have the lowest violence rates. Cities that sustain funding, focus and commitment to a multipronged approach have the best chance of maintaining their success.

Rachel’s piece highlights some of the methods that have been implemented in cities across the country – with positive results – in cities like Minneapolis and Los Angeles and through the CureViolence model in places like Chicago and Baltimore. The section also features an article on the long-term effects of trauma, and another on the impact of domestic violence on children, coauthored by Esta Soler, a member of PI’s executive advisory board. The issue also includes contributions from some of our partners and supporters, including The California Endowment and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Read the full piece here, and don’t forget to check out the entire special section.

How Violence Impacts Chronic Disease and Impedes Learning

Violence has far-reaching consequences for young people, families and neighborhoods, beyond serious physical injury and death. Backed by the latest research, these UNITY fact sheets make the case that violence causes long-term trauma that can lead to chronic health and mental health problems and interfere with children’s ability to learn. Preventing violence is a key aspect of any vibrant community, one where young people enjoy every opportunity to learn, thrive and excel.

Read the UNITY Policy Platform

Learn more about strategies that cities need to prevent violence—and the kind of supports that will enhance their success. Download here.

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