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Violence Prevention at CDC

Violence is a significant problem in the United States (U.S.). From infants to the elderly, it affects people in all stages of life. In 2015, 17,793 people were victims of homicide and 44,193 people took their own life. The number of violent deaths tells only part of the story. Many more survive violence and are left with permanent physical and emotional scars. Violence also erodes communities by reducing productivity, decreasing property values, and disrupting social services.

The Division of Violence Prevention

In 1979, violent behavior was identified by the U.S. Surgeon General as a key public health priority. Shortly thereafter, in 1980, CDC began studying patterns of violence. These early activities grew into a national program to reduce the death and disability associated with injuries outside the workplace. In 1992, CDC established the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) as the lead federal organization for violence prevention. The Division of Violence Prevention (DVP) is one of three divisions within NCIPC.The Division’s mission is to prevent injuries and deaths caused by violence.

DVP is committed to stopping violence before it begins (i.e., primary prevention). The division’s work involves:

  • Monitoring violence-related injuries
  • Conducting research on the factors that put people at risk or protect them from violence
  • Creating and evaluating the effectiveness of violence prevention programs
  • Helping state and local partners plan, implement, and evaluate prevention programs
  • Conducting research on the effective adoption and dissemination of prevention strategies

A more detailed timeline of violence prevention as a public health issue is available.

Strategic Vision

Learn about the division’s 5-year vision and areas of strategic focus.


Public Health Approach

Learn about taking a public health approach to violence prevention.


Social-Ecological Model

Learn about the Social-Ecological Model: A Framework for Prevention.


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