Interpersonal violence has a grave impact on those directly affected by it, but also on the wider community. With this report WHO, UNDP and UNODC have documented both the scale, the impact and what can and is being done in terms of prevention programmes, legislation and services to victims.
Some of the issues like sexual abuse, child maltreatment, and domestic violence are characterised by how those affected are often stigmatised, there is a sense of shame and fear of exclusion. Therefore, it is often clouded by silence. It should not be shameful to be open about this happening in our societies. What is shameful is if we close our eyes and ears to the facts and do nothing about it.
The global status report is the first tangible result of a yearlong labour on the WHO resolution on violence, particularly against women and children. Norway was among those states that believed this is an issue where WHO had a useful role to play. It is an issue that is very much a national problem, -everywhere in the world. And at the same time, it is also an issue of establishing and complying with international norms. Also, it represents an obvious health problem, not least in terms of mental health, while at the same time it is not a problem that can be addressed only by health systems. It needs to be addressed by a multi-sectoral approach, dealing with causes as well as consequences. But in many respects, the health sector needs to take the lead – nationally as well as internationally. It is through its destructive health effects that the cost of violence most clearly and convincingly become visible. And it is through the health benefits of preventing violence that the case for effective measures can most forcefully be made. We need the kind of evidence base that the status report is providing, also for the further development of the international response, which will come in the form of a WHO action plan. We look forward to working with WHO, UNDP, UNODC, other agencies, civil society actors, and other member states to develop further our response.
The Global status report on violence prevention 2014 can be found here