Journal of Public Health Policy

, Volume 37, Supplement 1, pp 81–94 | Cite as

Communities are not all created equal: Strategies to prevent violence affecting youth in the United States

Review Article

Abstract

We describe violence in the United States (US) and solutions the Urban Networks to Increase Thriving Youth (UNITY) Initiative has developed, led by Prevention Institute, a US non-governmental organization (NGO) and authors of this article, with initial funding from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Safety distribution across populations is unequal, while public health research has identified aspects of community environments that affect the likelihood of violence, or risk and resilience factors. An overwhelming number of risk factors have accumulated in some US communities, disproportionately impacting young people of color. US policies, systems, and institutions powerfully shape how and where these factors manifest. Violence is preventable, not inevitable. We argue that comprehensive strategies for improving community environments can reduce violence and promote health equity. We present lessons, tools, and frameworks that UNITY cities use to adapt for international application, including multi-sector collaboration, strategies for influencing policy and legislation, and strengthening local violence prevention efforts.

Keywords

violence prevention youth violence health equity social determinants of health Spectrum of Prevention risk and resilience 

References

  1. 1.
    Global Status Report on Violence Prevention. (2014) World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/status_report/2014/en/, accessed 30 April 2016.
  2. 2.
    Prevention Institute. (2011) UNITY fact sheet: Links between violence and health equity. Oakland: Prevention Institute, http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-311/127.html, accessed 5 May 2016.
  3. 3.
    Davis, R.A. (2011) The value of prevention. In: D.M. Patel and R.M. Taylor (eds.) Social and Economic Costs of Violence: The Value of Prevention Workshop Summary. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, pp. 112–118. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/13254/social-and-economic-costs-of-violence-workshop-summary, accessed 5 May 2016.
  4. 4.
    Weiss, B. (2008) An Assessment of Youth Violence Prevention Activities in USA. Cities. Los Angeles: Southern California Injury Prevention Research Center, UCLA School of Public Health. http://www.ph.ucla.edu/sciprc/pdf/UNITY-SCIPRCassessment.June2008.pdf, accessed 24 April 2016.
  5. 5.
    Prevention Institute. (2008) UNITY roadmap: A framework for effectiveness and sustainability. http://www.preventioninstitute.org/index.php?option=com_jlibrary&view=article&id=30&Itemid=127, accessed 5 May 2016.
  6. 6.
    Davis, R.A., Cook, D. and Cohen, L. (2005) A community resilience approach to reducing ethnic and racial disparities in health. American Journal Public Health 95(12): 2168–2173. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1449502/, accessed 5 May 2016.
  7. 7.
    Dahlberg, L.L. and Krug, E.G. (2002) Violence—A global public health problem, World Health Organization, Geneva. http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/world_report/en/chap1.pdf. (The first chapter of the World Report on Violence and Health (2002), World Health Organization: Geneva. http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/world_report/chapters/en/).
  8. 8.
    Garbarino, J. (2011) Violent children: where do we point the finger of blame? Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine 155(1): 13–14. http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=190189, accessed 5 May 2016.
  9. 9.
    Davis, R. A., Cook, D., & Cohen, L. (2005). A community resilience approach to reducing ethnic and racial disparities in health. American Journal of Public Health, 95(12), 2168–2173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Wilkinson, R. and Pickett, K. (2009) The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger. New York: Bloomsbury Press. https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/resources/the-spirit-level, accessed 5 May 2016.
  11. 11.
    Pinderhughes, H., Davis, R. and Williams, M. (2016) Adverse Community Experiences and Resilience: A Framework for Addressing and Preventing Community Trauma. Prevention Institute. http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-372/127.html, accessed 5 May 2106.
  12. 12.
    Youth Violence National and State Statistics at a Glance Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/yv-datasheet-a.pdf, accessed 5 May 2016.
  13. 13.
    Children’s Defense Fund. (2007) America’s cradle to prison pipeline. Washington, D.C.: Children’s Defense Fund. http://www.childrensdefense.org/library/data/cradle-prison-pipeline-report-2007-full-lowres.pdf, accessed 5 May 2016.
  14. 14.
    Children’s Defense Fund. (2011) Portrait of Inequality 2011: Black Children in America. Washington, D.C.: Children’s Defense Fund. http://www.childrensdefense.org/campaigns/black-community-crusade-for-children-II/bccc-assets/portrait-of-inequality.pdf, accessed 5 May 2016.
  15. 15.
    Finkelhor, D., Ormrod, R., Turner, H. and Hamby, S.L. (2005) The victimization of children and youth: a comprehensive, national survey. Child Maltreatment 10(1): 5–25. http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/pdf/CV73.pdf, accessed 5 May 2016.
  16. 16.
    Braveman, P. Kumanyika, S. Fielding, J. and LaVeist, T. (2011) Health disparities and health equity: The issue is justice. American Journal of Public Health 101(Suppl 1): S149–S155. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222512/, accessed 30 April 2016.
  17. 17.
    Braveman, P., Egerter, S. and Williams, D. (2011) Race, socioeconomic factors and health. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. http://www.rwjf.org/en/library/research/2011/04/race-and-socioeconomic-factors-affect-opportunities-for-better-h.html, accessed 5 May 2016.
  18. 18.
    Cohen, L., Iton, A., Davis, R.A. and Rodriguez, S.A. (2009) Time of Opportunity: Local Solutions to Reduce Inequities in Health and Safety. Oakland: Prevention Institute. http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-81/127.html, accessed 5 May 2016.
  19. 19.
    Smedley, B., Jeffries, M., Adelman, L. and Cheng, J. (2008) Race, Racial Inequality and Health Inequities: Separating Myth from Fact. San Francisco, CA: Unnatural Causes. http://www.unnaturalcauses.org/assets/uploads/file/Race_Racial_Inequality_Health.pdf, accessed 5 May 2016.
  20. 20.
    Whitehead, M. (1992) The concepts and principles of equity and health. International Journal of Health Services 22(3): 429–445. http://salud.ciee.flacso.org.ar/flacso/optativas/equity_and_health.pdf, accessed 5 May 2016.
  21. 21.
    Prevention Institute. (2011) UNITY Fact Sheet: Links Between Violence and Health Equity. Oakland: Prevention Institute. http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-311/127.html, accessed 5 May 2016.
  22. 22.
    Prevention Institute. (2011) UNITY Fact Sheet: Links Between Violence and Mental Health. Oakland: Prevention Institute. http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-301/127.html, accessed 5 May 2016.
  23. 23.
    Prevention Institute. (2011) UNITY Fact Sheet: Links Between Violence and Chronic Illness. Oakland: Prevention Institute. http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-301/127.html, accessed 5 May 2016.
  24. 24.
    Cohen, L., Davis, R.A., Lee, V. and Valdovinos, E. (2010) Addressing the Intersection: Preventing Violence and Promoting Healthy Eating and Active Living. Oakland: Prevention Institute. http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-267/127.html, accessed 5 May 2016.
  25. 25.
    Anda, R.F. Chapman, D.F., Dong, M., Dube, S.R., Edwards and Felitti, V.J. (2005) The wide-ranging health consequences of adverse childhood experiences. Victimization of Children and Youth: Patterns of Abuse, Response Strategies. New Jersey: Civic Research Institute. https://acestoohigh.com/research/, accessed 5 May 2016.
  26. 26.
    Dube, S.R., Anda, R.F., Felitti, V.J., Edwards, V.J. and Williamson, D.F. (2002) Exposure to abuse, neglect and household dysfunction among adults who witnessed intimate partner violence as children. Violence and Victims 17: 3–17. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11991154?dopt=Abstract, accessed 5 may 2016.
  27. 27.
    Felitti, V.J., Anda, R.F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D.F., Spitz, A.M., Edwards, V. et al. (1998) Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. American Journal of Prevention Medicine 14(4): 245–258. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9635069, accessed 5 May 2016.
  28. 28.
    Carver, A., Timperio, A. and Crawford, D. (2008) Perceptions of neighborhood safety and physical activity among youth: The CLAN study. Journal of Physical Activity and Health 5(3): 430–444. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11524-008-9284-9, accessed 5 May 2016.
  29. 29.
    Kilpatrick, D.G., Ruggiero, K.J., Acierno, R., Saunders, B.E., Resnick, H.S. and Best, C.L. (2003) Violence and risk of PTSD, major depression, substance abuse/dependence, and comorbidity: Results from the National Survey of Adolescents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 71(4): 692–700. http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/ccp/71/4/692/, accessed 5 May 2016.
  30. 30.
    Felitti, V.J., Anda, R.F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D.F., Spitz, A.M., Edwards, V. et al. (1998) Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. American Journal of Prevention Medicine, 14(4): 245–258. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9635069, accessed 5 May 2016.
  31. 31.
    Braveman, P. (2006) Health disparities and health equity: concepts and measurement. Annual Reviews of Public Health 27: 167–194. http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.publhealth.27.021405.102103, accessed 5 May 2016.
  32. 32.
    Prothrow-Stith, D. and Davis, R. (2010) A public health approach to preventing violence. In: L. Cohen, V. Chavez, S. Chehimi (eds.) Prevention Is Primary: Strategies for Community Well Being. http://www.preventioninstitute.org/press/highlights/491-just-released-prevention-is-primary-second-edition.html.
  33. 33.
    Smith, C., Lizotte, A.J., Thornberry, T.P. and Krohn, M.D. (1995). Resilient youth: Identifying factors that prevent high-risk youth from engaging in delinquency and drug use. In: J. Hagen (ed.) Delinquency and Disrepute in the Life Course: Contextual and Dynamic Analysis. JAI Press, pp. 217–274.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Bradley, R. H., Mundfrom, D. J., Casey, P., Kellher, K., & Pope, S. (1994). Early indications of resilience and their relation to experiences in the home environment of low birthweight, premature children living in poverty. Child Development, 65, 346–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Dahlberg, L.L. and Krug, E.G. (2002) Violence—A Global Public Health Problem, World Health Organization, Geneva. http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/world_report/en/chap1.pdf. (The first chapter of the World Report on Violence and Health (2002), World Health Organization: Geneva. http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/world_report/chapters/en/).
  36. 36.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2004) Sexual Violence Prevention: Beginning the Dialogue. Atlanta: Center for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/svprevention-a.pdf, accessed 5 May 2016.
  37. 37.
    Cohen, L. Davis, R. and Graffunder, C. (2005) Before it occurs: Primary prevention of intimate partner violence and abuse. In: P.R. Salber and E. Taliaferro (eds.) The Physician’s Guide to Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse: A Reference for All Health Care Professionals. Volcano: Volcano Press, pp. 89–100. http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-40/127.html, accessed 5 May 2016.
  38. 38.
    CSDH. (2008) Closing the gap in a generation: Health equity through action on the social determinants of health. Final report of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health. Geneva: World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/social_determinants/final_report/csdh_finalreport_2008.pdf, accessed 5 May 2016.
  39. 39.
    Solar, O. and Irwin, A. (2010) A conceptual framework for action on the social determinants of health. Social Determinants of Health Discussion (Policy and Practice). Geneva: World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/sdhconference/resources/ConceptualframeworkforactiononSDH_eng.pdf, accessed 5 May 2016.
  40. 40.
    Davis, R.A., Cohen, L. and Rodriguez, S. (2010) Toward health equity: A prevention framework for reducing health and safety disparities. In: B.J. Healey and R.S. Zimmerman, Jr. (eds.) The New World of Health Promotion: New Program Development, Implementation, and Evaluation, 1st ed. Sudbury: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, pp. 163–194. http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-199/127.html, accessed 5 May 2016.
  41. 41.
    McGinnis, J.M. and Foege, W.H. (1993) Actual causes of death in the United States. Journal of the American Medical Association 270(11): 2207–2212. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8411605, accessed 5 May 2016.
  42. 42.
    Cohen, L. and Swift S. (1999) The spectrum of prevention: Developing a comprehensive approach to injury prevention. Injury Prevention 5(3): 203–207. PMCID: PMC1730534. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1730534/, accessed 24 May 2016.
  43. 43.
    Prevention Institute. (2006) Sexual violence and the spectrum of prevention: Towards a community solution. http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-97/127.html, accessed 5 May 2016.
  44. 44.
    Cohen, L. and Erlenborn, J. (2001) Cultivating peace in Salinas: A framework for violence prevention. http://www.preventioninstitute.org/index.php?option=com_jlibrary&view=article&id=51&Itemid=127, accessed 5 May 2016.
  45. 45.
    Prevention Institute. (2013) Shifting the Paradigm: UNITY’s Impact on the Practice of Prevention. Oakland: Prevention Institute. http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-348/127.html, accessed 5 May 2016.
  46. 46.
    Prevention Institute. (2013) Shifting the Paradigm: UNITY’s Impact on the Practice of Prevention. Oakland: Prevention Institute. http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-348/127.html, accessed 5 May 2016.
  47. 47.
    Rybak, R.T., UNITY. (2012) City voices and perspectives. http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-324/127.html, accessed 5 May 2016.
  48. 48.
    City of Minneapolis. (2011) US Attorney General Holder Lauds Minneapolis’ Youth Violence Prevention Initiative. http://www.minneapolismn.gov/news/news_20110527ythviolenceprevention_holder, accessed 5 May 2016.
  49. 49.
    UNITY, Prevention Institute. (2011) State of the Blueprint Report. Blueprint for Action Youth Violence Prevention Conference, Minneapolis, MN. http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-314/127.html, accessed 5 May 2016.
  50. 50.
    Prevention Institute. (2011) City voices and Perspectives: Blueprint for Action—Preventing Violence in Minneapolis. Oakland: Prevention Institute. http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-314/127.html, accessed 5 May 2016.
  51. 51.
    Prevention Institute. (2009). Preventing Violence: A Primer. http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-144/127.html.
  52. 52.
    Prevention Institute. (2013) THRIVE (Community Tool for Health & Resilience In Vulnerable Environments). Prevention Institute. http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-96/127.html.
  53. 53.
    Prevention Institute. (2007) Good Health Counts: A 21st Century Approach to Health and Community for California. The California Endowment. (For full list of elements and explanation see: Box 1: Key Community Factors, p. 10.) http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-85/127.html.
  54. 54.
    Prevention Institute. (2015) Measuring what works to achieve health equity: Metrics for the determinants of health. http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-367/127.html.
  55. 55.
    Cohen, L., Iton, A., Davis, R. and Rodriguez, S. (2009) A Time of Opportunity: Local Solutions to Reduce Inequities in Health and Safety. Commissioned by The Institute of Medicine. Prevention Institute. http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-81/127.html.

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.US: Prevention InstituteOaklandUSA

Personalised recommendations