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Preventing violence and reducing its impact: how development agencies can help
  1. C Mikton
  1. C Mikton, WHO Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability, 20 Avenue Appia, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland; miktonc{at}

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Violence has long been considered a criminal justice and human rights issue. More recently it has also been viewed as a public health problem. But violence has rarely been regarded as a development issue. Yet, in many low and middle income countries, the health consequences and costs of violence seriously hinder economic and social development. In addition to its obvious physical consequences, such as injury and death, recent studies show that the health, psychological, social, and occupational consequences of violence reach much further than previously suspected.1 2 The health and criminal justice costs of reacting to violence divert billions of dollars from more constructive societal spending. Research is also beginning to show that the much larger indirect economic costs of violence due to lost productivity and lost opportunity impede development, exacerbate socioeconomic inequality, and erode human and social capital.3 Moreover, pervasive violence and deprivation often fuel each other, forming a vicious circle …

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