Violence involving children

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7017.1384 (Published 25 November 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1384
  1. Anthony B Zwi,
  2. Shelley Rifkin
  1. Senior lecturer in health policy and epidemiology Research fellow Health Economics and Financing Programme, Health Policy Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT

    Needs a population rather than an individual approach

    In 1993 in Britain a 3 year old boy, James Bulger, was brutally murdered by two 10 year olds. Widespread debate about violence followed. While some people depicted the perpetrators as evil “freaks of nature,” others sought to link the events to broader societal conditions. In response to the tragedy the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation set up a commission on children and violence. The commission's report, published earlier this month, reinforces the view that violence is not simply the domain of deviant individuals but reflects social values and behaviours imbued in children by parents, society, and the media.1 Tackling violence will therefore require a population based public health approach; reducing violence at all levels in society will, the commission concludes, achieve more than reacting only to individual extreme cases.

    The report reflects our …

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