IOM workshop addresses contagion of violence

Jun 15, 2012

By Rena Malai, News Staff

To address the contagious nature of violence and examine ways to treat it, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recently presented “The Contagion of Violence,” a two-day workshop held in Washington, D.C.

Experts from a wide variety of fields presented at the workshop, and NASW Senior Policy Adviser Evelyn Tomaszewski — an appointed member of the Forum on Global Violence Prevention — was selected to facilitate the session “Social and Structural Moderator/Cofactors of the Contagion of Violence.”

From left, Jacqueline Campbell, co-chair of the IOM Forum on Global Violence Prevention; Iris PrettyPaint, project director of Kaufman and Associates, Inc., a professional services firm; and Evelyn Tomaszewski, NASW senior policy adviser, participate in “The Contagion of Violence” forum recently in Washington, D.C.

The session detailed four brief overviews: “The Role of Punishment, Incarceration, and Re-entry,” presented by Barry Krisberg; “The Role of Historical Trauma,” presented by Iris PrettyPaint; “The Role of Family and Positive Parenting,” presented by Deborah Gorman-Smith; and “The Role of Migration and PopulationDisplacement,” presented by Fariyal Ross-Sheriff.

“The session focused on the social structure moderators of the contagion of violence,” Tomaszewski said. “It explored factors such as what is the role of the family in the social structure; how does discrimination, oppression and heterosexism contribute and feed the contagion of violence; and what makes individuals and families susceptible to the contagion?”

The session was followed by a panel discussion and a moderated audience question-and-answer session, facilitated by Tomaszewski.

“’The Contagion of Violence’ presented research on the theories, processes and mechanisms of the contagion of violence, which essentially validates what social workers see every day in practice,” she said. “It will help social workers to identify new interventions and learn more about what we can work on to break the cycle of violence, and reinforce protective factors and resilience within the client and community.”

IOM will sponsor the next Contagion of Violence workshop on Jan. 23 and 25, in Washington, D.C.

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Statistics on violence
  • Of the youth violence that happens in public, 67 percent to 75 percent is group behavior. (Deanna Wilkinson, associate professor, Department of Human Development and Family Science, Ohio State University.)
  • In 2001, violence accounted for 45 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost, with low-  and middle-income countries bearing the largest burden. (Forum on Global Violence Prevention.) DALY is a measure of overall burden expressed as number of years lost due to ill health, disability or early death.
  • Prisons are significantly more violent than the general community. (Barry Krisberg, University of California, Director of Research and Policy and Lecturer in Residence Berkeley School of Law and President of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.)
  • Within three years of release, almost 75 percent of incarcerated youth are rearrested, and 45 percent to 72 percent are convicted of a new offense. (Annie E. Casey Foundation.)

From the June 2012 NASW News

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