Violence Prevention Resources

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), violence is defined as “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community that either results in or has the high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation.”

Types of Violence

Child abuse

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act defines child abuse and neglect as: “at a minimum, any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.” Abuse also includes use of any communication to humiliate or shame a child, causing emotional trauma. Although the incidence of child abuse and neglect has been decreasing in recent years, more than 1.25 million, or 1 in every 58 children in the United States, were abused in 2006 (National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, 2007).

One of the most vulnerable of populations; children are often unable to voice when or how they are being abused. Some common signs of child abuse can include:

  • Sudden changes in behavior or school performance.
  • Parental failure to seek help for physical or medical problems
  • Learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical of psychological causes
  • Is always watchful, maybe fearful, as though preparing for something bad to happen.
  • Lacks adult supervision.
  • Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn.
  • Early arrival, late departure to school or other activities, and does not want to go home.

Domestic violence

Domestic violence occurs when a family member, partner or ex-partner attempts to or succeeds at physically or psychologically dominating another. Domestic violence often refers to violence between spouses, or spousal abuse but can also include cohabitants and non-married intimate partners. According to the National Center Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. In addition, almost one-third of all female homicides that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner.

Domestic violence occurs in all cultures; people of all races, ethnicities, religions, sexes and classes can be perpetrators or victims of domestic violence. 85% of all domestic violence victims are women; as men are also victims of domestic violence. It has many forms, including physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, intimidation, economic deprivation, and threats of violence. Although emotional and psychological abuse is not classified as criminal behaviors, they are forms of abuse and can lead to criminal violence. The illustration below highlights methods of power and control that abusers use.

Domestic Violence Chart

Elder abuse and neglect

According to the National Center for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, elder abuse is defined as any form of maltreatment that results in the harm or loss to an older person. Forms of elder abuse can include:

  • Physical abuse is physical force that results in bodily injury, pain, or impairment. It includes assault, battery, and inappropriate restraint.
  • Sexual abuse is non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with an older person.
  • Emotional abuse is the willful infliction of mental or emotional anguish by threat, humiliation, or other verbal or nonverbal conduct.
  • Abandonment is defined as the desertion of an elderly person by an individual who has assumed responsibility for providing care for an elder, or by a person with physical custody of an elder.
  • Passive neglect is the failure of a caregiver to fulfill his or her care giving responsibilities
  • Willful deprivation is failure to provide for one's own essential needs
  • Financial exploitation is the illegal or improper use of an older person's funds, property, or resources

As elders become more physically challenged, they’re less able to stand up to physical abuse. In addition they may not maintain the same level of hearing and clear thinking leaving them vulnerable to abuse. Between 1 and 2 million Americans age 65 or older have been injured, exploited, or otherwise mistreated by someone on whom they depended for care or protection (Committee on National Statistics: Elder Mistreatment: Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation in an Aging America 2003)

  • School violence
  • Violence in schools manifests in several ways throughout the United States. Youth participate in a wide range of activities that could possibly foster opportunities for violence. Some of the areas where violence occurs are:
  • Through the internet
  • Bullying
  • Fighting
  • Weapons use

According to the National Youth Behavior Risk Surveillance in 2003, 17.1% of high school students had carried a weapon to school in the 30 days preceding the survey. In response, government and school administration have initiated protection measures in the form of metal detectors, surveillance cameras and police officers within the schools and during school related activities.

Sexual Violence

Street & community violence

Street and community violence is usually categorized in accordance to the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator. Street violence refers to the use of physical force by individuals or groups within public spaces resulting in injury or death. This includes the forms of violence that are most often addressed by public health practitioners and researchers, particularly gang and youth violence, which often take place in the street or other open areas. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. has the highest rates of childhood homicide, suicide, and firearm-related death among industrialized countries. Violence caused by gang involvement has taken on a larger concern as they often incorporate drug and burglary crimes.

Workplace violence

Workplace violence can be any act of physical violence, threats of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening, disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. Workplace violence can affect or involve employees, visitors, contractors, and family. A number of different actions in the work environment can trigger or cause workplace violence. A Society for Human Resource Management study shows that more than half the companies in the United States have experienced some sort of workplace violence, with verbal threats being cited by 41% of respondents as the most common form. The study also indicated that about 68% of respondents indicated they have a formal workplace violence policy. Workplace violence can be inflicted by an abusive employee, a manager, supervisor, co-worker, customer, family member, or even a stranger.


Intimate Partner Violence: The Health Care Professionals' Role in Prevention

The OVPC is a recipient of the Illinois Health Cares grant through a partnership between the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority and the Illinois Department of Public Health. The Illinois Health Cares Initiative was designed to improve the health care response to domestic violence. As such, the OVPC has partnered with community agencies and hospitals to improve their continuing education opportunities with regard to keeping current on best practices for prevention of domestic violence. In addition, the initiative has a focused goal of system development to improve the process by which hospitals respond and work with experts to prevent incidences of violence with their patients. While the OVPC is the lead agency for the Illinois Health Cares Initiative, other partners include:

  • Loyola University Medical System-Emergency Department
  • Loyola Center For Health on Roosevelt
  • University of Illinois Extension
  • Prospect Heights Police Department
  • Healthcare Consortium of Illinois Office of Community Health
  • Family Services of Glencoe
  • State of Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County Family Coordinating Councils
  • Leyden Family Services
  • Pillars-Constance Morris House
  • Women in Need of Growing Stronger
  • Illinois Association of School Nurses

The IHC initiative the coalition created an online training tool for health care professionals specifically geared toward intimate partner violence. The coalition also created a domestic violence resource locator tool for the public to use.

To get involved, contact us via email at: