traditional evaluations and the speed at which technology changes, Dr. Riley also suggests several adapted methodologies that might be better suited for rapidly changing environments.


Cathryn Meurn


Violence is a global problem that crosses cultural and socioeconomic boundaries. From collective to interpersonal to self-inflicted violence, its impact on health is substantial. Violence is one of the leading causes of death worldwide for people between 15 and 44 years of age (WHO, 2002). However, the actual cost and extent to which violence occurs is difficult to measure. Countless violent acts happen out of public view in offices, homes, or even public institutions.

Violence can be prevented, and this assertion has been proven true within the field of public health. Action to prevent violence has been undertaken at various levels, from the local and community level to the international system. Methods have ranged from primary prevention, aiming to prevent a violent act before it occurs, to the tertiary level, which encompasses approaches that focus on long-term care.

The goal of this background paper is to provide a brief introduction to the current and potential role that ICTs can play in the reduction and prevention of violence. This paper by no means offers an extensive study on the intersection of ICTs and violence prevention. There are many ongoing projects, and a deeper landscape analysis is recommended. Furthermore, the use of ICTs in the field of public health is in its early stages. Much of the research cited in this paper can be classified as pilot projects, and, to date, there have been no in-depth measurements of their impacts. Therefore, this paper is intended to introduce the potential of the area and to encourage collective action going forward.

The Technology and the Debate

Technologies such as the smartphone, crowdsourcing tools, remote diagnostics, and other technological innovations have proliferated over the past decade, and many of them have shifted over to mainstream use. With this technological expansion, debate has also arisen concerning the positive and negative impacts that these innovations have within communities and worldwide.

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