Violence prevention scheme unveiled

Tuesday 31 March 2009

An international initiative that will aim to reduce and prevent violence will be launched at the University of St Andrews today (Tuesday, 31st March).

The Scottish Government, World Health Organisation and the University of St Andrews will work in collaboration to reduce interpersonal violence in global regions.

The programme will target violence prevention in low and middle income countries, utilising Scotland’s experience and expertise gained through the work of the Violence Reduction Unit.

Professor Peter Donnelly from the University’s Bute Medical School is the project leader.

He explained, “Violence is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide with approximately 1.6 million lives lost and 16 million injuries incurred due to interpersonal violence every year.

“Both the burden and impact of violence on development is greatest in low and middle income countries with 90% of violence related deaths occurring in these countries according to research by the WHO.

“This five-year initiative aims to support the development and implementation of violence prevention policies.”

Mr Fergus Ewing MSP, Minster for Community Justice will attend the launch of the £250,000 collaborative project.  He said, “In Scotland, as with many other countries in the world, violence is a real problem. Quite simply, it is killing and injuring too many people, in particular young men who seem to think it’s cool to carry a knife or get involved in random violence.

“What we need is to change this culture and make people realise that violence is preventable. It’s good news that St Andrew’s University will be working with the World Health Organisation to help develop and implement violence prevention programmes and evaluate work to reduce violence. “I hope this initiative can help us see what the most effective projects are from a number of different countries and ensure that polices and work to tackle violence areas good as they can possibly be.”

Alex Butchart of the World Health Organization Headquarters in Geneva will also speak at the event to explain how the strategy will be implemented in selected countries.

Dr Butchart, WHO Coordinator for Violence Prevention said, “This initiative comes at a good time. Murder, rape and child abuse thrive where economic and social inequalities are wide.

“The global economic recession may be widening the gap between rich and poor, bringing with it increased risks of interpersonal violence – unless, as this initiative aims to do, we take preventive action now”.

Scottish experts from the Violence Reduction Unit and officials from the Health Improvement Strategy and Community Safety Unit at the Scottish Government will contribute to the programmes, sharing their knowledge and experience.

Academics from the University’s Bute Medical School and School of International Relations will also be in attendance for the discussions which aim to strengthen a multisectoral approach to violence prevention.

The event will be hosted by Dr Louise Richardson, Principal & Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews.  She said, “The University is delighted to work in partnership with the Scottish Government and the World Health Organisation on such an excellent example of knowledge transfer with practical value for low and middle income countries.”

The launch of the initiative will take place on Tuesday 31st March from 11am to 1pm in the Gateway building, North Haugh, St Andrews.



Professor Peter Donnelly is available for interview via the Press Office.

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Fiona Armstrong, Press Officer on 01334 462530 / 462529, Mobile: 07730 415 015 or Email: [email protected]

Ref: Violence Prevention 310309
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