On April 30-May 1, 2012, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Forum on Global Violence Prevention convened a workshop to explore the contagious nature of violence (see Box 1-1 for the Statement of Task). Part of the Forum’s mandate is to engage in multisectoral, multidirectional dialogue that explores crosscutting, evidence-based approaches to violence prevention, and the Forum has convened four workshops to this point exploring various elements of violence prevention. The workshops are designed to examine such approaches from multiple perspectives and at multiple levels of society. In particular, the workshop on the contagion of violence focused on exploring the epidemiology of the contagion, describing possible processes and mechanisms by which violence is transmitted, examining how contextual factors mitigate or exacerbate the issue, and illuminating ways in which the contagion of violence might be interrupted. Speakers were invited to share the progress and outcomes of their work and to engage in a dialogue exploring the gaps and opportunities in the field. It should be noted that, while the infectious disease model was utilized as a framework for common language, not all speakers approached the issue of contagion literally. These differing approaches allowed for an emerging exploration of this issue, and one that might benefit from future exploration and research.
Statement of Task
The contagion of violence is a universal phenomenon, occurring at all levels of society and affecting a broad spectrum of individuals. It occurs globally, within all societies, and is transmitted through interpersonal relationships, families, peer groups, neighborhoods, and cultures. The Institute of Medicine will convene a 2-day workshop to explore the contagion of violence and how it can be prevented and eventually ended. The workshop will emphasize the challenge in low- and middle-income countries, where the burden of violence is the greatest.
The public workshop will be organized and conducted by an ad hoc committee to examine (1) the contagious nature of violence, (2) the relationship between the contagion of violence and epidemics of violence, and (3) how contagions of violence can be prevented or ended.
The committee will develop the workshop agenda, select and invite speakers and discussants, and moderate the discussions. Experts will be drawn from the public and private sectors as well as from academic organizations to allow for multilateral, evidence-based discussions. Following the conclusion of the workshop, an individually authored summary of the event will be prepared by a designated rapporteur.