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Injuries arising from violence are a major public health problem and a leading cause of death around the world. Globally, violence kills at least 1.6 million people each year. Of these violence-related deaths, 86% are due to interpersonal violence (520 000 deaths each year) and self-directed violence (870 000 deaths each year). For every death, there are numerous hospital admissions and emergency department presentations. For instance, interpersonal violence is estimated to result each year in at least 16 million injuries severe enough to warrant medical attention, and suicide attempts are estimated to be 10–40 times more common than completed suicides.
Injuries due to interpersonal and self-directed violence therefore result in large direct expenditures for healthcare and are a major burden for other sectors, such as law enforcement, criminal justice, and welfare. Meeting even these direct costs already diverts many billions of dollars from more constructive societal spending. Far larger still are the indirect costs of violence-related injuries due to lost productivity and inability to continue with the activities of daily life. These massive indirect …
Competing interests: None.