Violence Prevention

Violence has always been present throughout our human existence. According to the World Health Organization report on violence and health “violence results in more than 1.5 million people being killed each year, and many more suffer non-fatal injuries and chronic, non-injury health consequences as a result of suicide attempts, interpersonal violence (youth violence, intimate partner violence, child maltreatment, elder abuse and sexual violence) and collective violence (war and other forms of conflict). Overall, violence is among the leading causes of death worldwide for people aged 15-44 years old”. Ironically, violence is preventable and its impact can be greatly reduced.

Evidence has emerged showing the intimacy between alcohol and violence and the importance of directing interventions at institutions as well as changing cultural and social norms that promote violence. In particular, social norms are extremely influential in shaping behavior and may buffer violent behavior; however, they can also encourage it. In many cultures, corporal punishment is an acceptable way to rear a child or resolve conflict -- feeding the cycle of interpersonal violence.

Notwithstanding these complex issues, UCEPP has endeavored in the field of violence prevention through funding by The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF). Our youth leadership project aims to reduce violence in skid row and cultivate future champions. Our existing campaign to highlight the best of skid row and draw the assets of our community that have long been forgotten is well underway. Additionally, youth leaders are focusing their attention to address interpersonal violence as it is inextricably related to social factors in our community, such as unemployment, inordinate levels of law enforcement, income inequality, and access to education, among others. Our experience has taught us that successful interventions must also be directed to address social factors fueling interpersonal violence. We are optimistic that the creativity and passion of our youth will aid existing efforts to improve the neighborhood and challenge negative perceptions.