Violence as a Public Health Concern

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recognizes violence as a major public health concern. Violence occurs in the context of a broad range of human relationships and complex interaction that encompasses social, cultural, and economic risk factors, including but not limited to the influence of the media, substance abuse, interpersonal violence (including sexual and intimate partner violence), fragmentation of family life, availability of weapons, and the rise of gangs and youth violence. Exposure to violence and abuse has been associated with death and severe physical and mental health outcomes.

Violence disproportionately affects vulnerable populations such as women, children, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and intersex individuals, and those living in poverty, among others.

In order to support their patients who are victims of violence or are at risk, family physicians need to be aware of the various manifestations of violence, risk factors related to violence, availability of resources and services for survivors of violence and their families. The AAFP also encourages members to become involved in efforts to reduce violence through advocacy, educational means, as well as partnerships with law enforcement and community-based organizations.

(1987) (2017 COD)