Education And Debate

Ethical Debate: Towards interagency procedures to protect victims and prevent violence

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 16 December 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1617
  1. Jonathan Shepherd, professor of oral and maxillofacial surgerya
  1. a University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff CF4 4XY

      A public health approach to violence has focused so far on risk factors such as alcohol consumption,1 availability of firearms,2 and links between deprivation and crime3 but hasyet to include trying to bring violent offenders to justice. Yet there is now strong evidence of alink between the incidence of violence and the rate at which offenders are convicted. Increasing the rate of conviction is therefore likely to be an effective way to prevent injury.

      Criminal justice and public health have much in common. Both use deterrence (health warnings), incapacitation (isolation), and rehabilitation. A public health approach, however, focuses on the injured rather than the offenders. It can therefore be concerned with the very large number of violent incidents on both sides of the Atlantic that are neither reported to nor recorded by the police.6 7 In Britain only about a quarter of the assaults resulting …

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