Public health is about looking after the health, well-being and safety of entire populations. Not just you, or your family, or your community but a whole country. The VRU will use this approach to prevent violence from occurring in the County. Preventing violence means fewer victims, safer communities and better outcomes for all of us.
Violence can be prevented if we share what we know and act together using what we have.
Violence is not something that just happens, nor is it normal or acceptable in our society. Many of the key risk factors that make individuals, families or communities vulnerable to violence are changeable, including exposure to adverse experiences in childhood and subsequently the environments in which individuals live, learn and work throughout youth, adulthood and older age.
Understanding these factors means we can develop and adopt new public health based approaches to violence. Such approaches focus on the primary prevention of violence through reducing risk factors and promoting protective factors over the life course. Interventions to achieve these goals have been tested and now form part of a growing evidence base of cost effective measures to reduce the harms associated with violence and prevent its occurrence.
The impact of violence on the health of individuals and the costs it imposes on health care systems - £2.9 billion annually - are substantial and like other major public health priorities such as smoking and alcohol. The potential benefits of adopting an evidence-based approach to violence prevention are also substantial in terms of both improved population health and reduced health care costs.
Everyone needs to add their piece to the puzzle
How does it work?
The public health approach is a science-based four-step process:
What’s the problem?
The first step is to gather data to reveal the who, what, why, where and when of the problem. This can be crime data but also information from hospitals, schools and a range of other sources.
What are the causes?
Next look for evidence on the factors that put people at risk of experiencing, or perpetrating, violence as well as the factors that can protect them.
What works and for whom?
Using the data gathered the next step is to design, implement and (crucially) evaluate a violence intervention.
Scale it up!
If the intervention works, then scale it up across the organisation/community/country while evaluating how well it works and its cost-effectiveness.
Want to know more? Read the resource provided to system leaders in England by the Government on how to deliver a public health informed response to violence.