The Prevention Institute‘s newly released fact sheet Links Between Violence and Health Equity states clearly why violence is not only a criminal justice issue, but also a social justice and public health issue.
Violence is a health equity issue, and preventing violence is an important component of achieving equity in health and in communities. Health inequities are related both to a legacy of overt discriminatory actions on the part of government and the larger society, as well as to present-day institutional practices and policies that perpetuate a system of diminished opportunity for certain populations.
While the focus in this fact sheet mainly addresses youth violence, I believe these concepts also apply to sexual violence and domestic violence. This fact sheet recognizes that we have to examine community-level issues to prevent violence.
Domestic violence and sexual violence are health equity issues. We know that some people are are greater risk for violence than others. For example women are at greater risk than men to be abused. A study released this week in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. research showed that men with disabilities have a four times greater risk for being sexual abused than men without disabilities. This fact sheet challenges us to look at the institutional and community level reasons for why some people are at greater risk than others.
By acknowledging the links between health and violence, we can focus on preventing violence as an important way to improve the overall health of our communities.