Violence Prevention is Happening All Over the World

I wanted to go a little bit away from my usual discussion of workplace violence today and bring to your attention a fascinating report that has been released by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Global Status Report On Violence Prevention 2014 takes stock of how governments are making a difference, by assessing the measures countries are taking to prevent and respond to interpersonal violence.The report – the first of its kind – finds that considerable violence prevention activity is underway around the world.

For instance, on average, each of the prevention programs surveyed was reported to be implemented in about a third of countries; each of the services to protect and support victims surveyed was reported to be in place in just over half of countries; and some 80% of countries were found to have enacted each of the prevention laws surveyed.

But more importantly the report also reveals gaps in global violence prevention that must be filled: gaps in knowledge about the extent of the problem; in the quality and reach of prevention programs; in access to services for victims; in the enforcement of existing laws; and in mechanisms to coordinate multi-sectoral work which could better respond to the issue of violence.

I urge you to have a look through the report link  because as you do so, you will (if you are anything like me) get just a little bit more fired up about the importance of continuing to improve lives as far as people’s personal safety is concerned.

Yes, there’s a possibility you might look at the report (or the statistical highlight infographic) and say to yourself “Well, things are pretty good where we live……so what is the fuss?”

Stats Can Be Misleading

workplace-bullying-infographic - CopyI have a whole series of responses to that comment but for the purposes of this blog I want to remind you all that the WHO report is based on the statistics on what is actually reported. Having come from a career spent in law enforcement, I can tell you first hand that many acts of violence are never reported.

So whatever perspective or set of glasses you wear to read the report through, I can tell you that the situation is far worse than the report states….and that is bad enough in the first place.

I was delivering a Workplace Violence Prevention workshop recently in Vancouver. The audience were victim service providers from a wide range of community based programs many dealing with vulnerable populations. The conversations that we had reinforced in my mind that just as the WHO report suggests, there is much more work to be done.

The report’s recommendations focus on five specific items, none more important than the others:

  1. Scale up prevention programs
  2. Ensure that the existing laws are fully enforced
  3. Ensure that victim services are widely available and accessible
  4. Strengthen data collection and use
  5. Set baselines and targets for violence prevention & track progress

Although these recommendations are contained in a report focused on a global issue, these are exactly the same goals that you should have with any violence prevention program, especially those that deal with workplace violence.

What can we do about this issue? Well, it is exactly the same answer as the old ‘joke’: How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One piece at a time.

So that’s why we continue to do what we do…..tackling issues one little piece at a time.

That is what I believe we do with the work we do within workplaces.

Providing information and training which makes for a safer experience for employees while at work, one little bit a time.