Unfortunately, violence is a part of our daily life. It exists in all corners of our nation. It may result in physical injury, psychological harm, or even death. Violence also includes suicide and nonfatal acts of self-harm. It affects us all regardless of our age, gender, race, ethnicity, or socio-economic status.
More than 50,000 violent deaths occur each year in the United States. The deaths only tell part of the story. Millions of others are left with debilitating physical and emotional injuries. These injuries negatively affect the health of victims for the rest of their lives. Violence also erodes the fabric of our communities. It can threaten productivity in the workplace, decrease the value of our homes and businesses, and disrupt essential public and social services. The economic cost of violence is staggering. In 2000, the medical costs and productivity losses associated with nonfatal violence-related injuries and deaths were estimated at more than $70 billion each year. The total burden to society is far greater.
During the past three years in Broward County, a large amount of media attention has been paid to a handful of horrific, violent attacks by students on other students attending Broward schools. A youth was set on fire over a stolen bike; a teen was severely beaten over text messages; and a student was killed in a drive by-shooting outside of a school. While these attacks were horrible, they illustrate only the tip of the iceberg of student violence, both in schools and in the community.
According to the Broward County School Environmental Safety Incident 2008-09 Report, there were a total of 7,749 reported violent incidents. These incidents included 3,775 incidents of fighting, 1,432 incidents of battery, 615 incidents of fear and intimidation, 820 incidents of bullying, 523 incidents of weapons possession, and 296 incidents of sex offenses. Law enforcement was required to intervene in 2,603 of the fighting incidents, and all of the crimes of battery and of a sexual nature.
In 2010-11 according to the CDC Youth Risk Behavior data:
It was less than 30 years ago when we began to recognize violence as a serious public health problem in the United States. Since that time, the field of violence prevention has quickly evolved. Many prevention programs and strategies have been developed and implemented across the country. There is a growing body of research on “what works” to prevent violence. Dedicated professionals have provided us with a foundation from which we can build effective prevention programs.
To help our community, the Choose Peace/Stop Violence Website contains useful, up-to-date information about violence prevention.
It is built especially for public health practitioners, health care professionals, community leaders, school administrators, our partners, and parents and every day citizens who share the common goal of preventing violence in Broward County. Prevention efforts should aim to reduce factors that place youth at risk for perpetrating violence and promote factors that protect youth at risk for violence. Many prevention programs and strategies have been developed and implemented with effective results. Such evidenced-based programs are the key factors in promoting awareness and social change.
(Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -CDC)