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June 10, 1992

Let's Be ClearViolence Is a Public Health Problem

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Injury Control, National Center for Environmental Health and Injury Control, Centers for Disease Control, Public Health Service, US Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta, Ga.

JAMA. 1992;267(22):3071-3072. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480220089034

WE have worked for more than 10 years in the US Public Health Service to clarify the patterns of violence through surveillance and research and to identify and evaluate interventions to prevent and reduce the impact of violence. It is time to be clear about what we mean by violence and why we believe that violence is a public health problem. Violence is the intentional use of physical force against another person or against oneself, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury or death. Violence includes suicidal acts as well as interpersonal violence such as rape, assault, child abuse, or elder abuse. Fatal violence results in suicides and homicides.

The term violence has been used to connote both a subset of behaviors (which produce injuries) and outcomes (ie, the injuries themselves). We use violence to refer to a particular class of behaviors that cause