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Reducing Violence: Issues, Options, and Opportunities for State Governments

Workshop Brief for Senior State and Local Health Officials

This workshop was designed for State and local officials and others responsible for initiating and supporting violence prevention policies and programs. The workshop was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on February 7-9, 2000.

About the Workshop Sponsor.


Violence has long been a major concern in the United States, but the current national statistics are overwhelming. For example:

  • Twenty-five percent of all women report being raped and/or physically assaulted at some time in their life.
  • A recent national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that approximately 50 percent of men who frequently assault their wives also abuse their children.
  • Homicide is the leading cause of death for black males in all age categories.
  • Over the last 2 years, there have been 105 violent deaths on school grounds.
  • Nearly 20 percent of all students in grades 9-12 report that they have carried a weapon to school at least once within the last 30 days.
  • Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in the United States, taking the lives of 1.9 percent of the American population in 1995.

There is an increasing recognition that, rather than engaging a series of single-discipline initiatives, a more effective approach to dealing with the problem of violence is establishing a multidisciplinary strategy in which government agencies at all levels work in a supportive and collaborative manner with one another and with community-based organizations to address the various manifestations of violence. The prevention-oriented approach traditionally taken by public health offers a useful model for characterizing different activities undertaken in the context of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention.

The development of effective and collaborative strategies for addressing the problem of violence using a prevention-oriented model clearly offers significant challenges for public and private policymakers, program administrators, and community leaders charged with designing and implementing such a model.


At the completion of this workshop, participants are expected to be better able to:

  • Assess research findings on violence reduction strategies.
  • Put into operation a research-based framework to help guide the design of effective violence prevention strategies.
  • Identify and use a range of strategies and policies regarding school and youth violence, intimate partner violence, suicide, and child/elder abuse.
  • Determine methods that States and localities can use to collect and analyze data for design, monitoring, and evaluation of violence prevention initiatives.
  • Recognize and take advantage of opportunities to play a leadership role in developing effective violence prevention initiatives in their communities.


This workshop was intended for a wide range of senior officials in both the executive and legislative branches of State governments and local healthcare officials who are responsible for initiating and supporting violence prevention policies and programs. The audience included State legislators, State public health department representatives, representatives from offices on violence prevention and community health, and governors' staff.

AHRQ's User Liaison Program (ULP) disseminates health services research findings in easily understandable and usable formats through interactive workshops. Workshops and other support are planned to meet the needs of Federal, State, and local policymakers, and other health services research users, such as purchasers, administrators, and health plans.

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