Violence and its consequent injury and death represent a major health problem in this country. The United States has one of the highest homicide rates in the industrialized world: ten times higher than that of England and twenty times higher than that of Spain. Fatalities from violence represent only the tip of the iceberg: nonfatal intentional injuries occur as many as one hundred times more frequently: assault and intentional injuries identified in medical studies can be four times those reported to the police, suggesting that medical institutions are a primary site for identification of individuals with violence-related problems. Violence and its consequences must be perceived as a serious and large-scale problem that needs to be addressed by the health care community. The magnitude and characteristics of violence-related problems cry out for new and creative approaches to prevention and treatment and provide insight into the direction that needs to be taken. Although there will be no easy answers or solutions to the problem, it is essential that support be developed for experimental efforts. The health community cannot ignore the problems associated with violence and can, in fact, make a real contribution to their resolution through prevention, treatment, and research.



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