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Violence in general

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In some humanitarian emergencies, violence can be a major cause of morbidity and mortality. In such situations, the rate of violence may need to be measured by epidemiologic surveillance, surveys, or other methods. Information on the frequency, type, severity, and causes of violence can be useful in designing preventive interventions as well as determining what types of resources may be needed for the health care system. For example, unlike other health and nutrition conditions, the acute treatment of violence often requires surgical capacity, and the long-term care of victims of violence often requires rehabilitation facilities.

Several surveys have attempted to estimate the proportional mortality attributable to violence or the cause-specific mortality rate from violence.

  • Review of mortality studies in Iraq (click here to open this document)
  • Mortality in Kosovo (click here to open this document)

This may be easier than measuring other causes of mortality because the case definition is more easily explained to survey respondents: the case definition may be more sensitive and specific: and the prodrome, signs, and symptoms are more readily apparent.

There are several sets of guidelines for the assessment of mortality rates in humanitarian emergencies (see section existing recommendations on measuring mortality). However, there are no guidelines for the assessment of the general level of non-fatal violence. Such guidelines are sorely needed.