By the time you finish reading this news item two people will have died a violent and traumatic death in the WHO European Region. A new report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional office for Europe reveals violence and injuries are a leading cause of death in the Region.
Almost 500,000 people are killed within the European region, every year due to violence and injuries with causes ranging from road traffic injury, falls and drowning to interpersonal violence and suicide.
- Overall, 42% of deaths due to violence and injuries are among those under 50.
- Half of all deaths among young people aged 15 to 29 years,
- A third of deaths among children aged 5 to 14 years, and
- A quarter of deaths among adults aged 30 to 49 years are caused by violence and injuries.
Long-term research and international experience have well established that violence and injuries have risk and protective determinants – making them predictable and preventable,” said Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, as per the WHO Europe website.Dr Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe
Alcohol a major risk factor for violence and injury
The report links prevention of violence and injury with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Alcohol harm is mentioned as a risk factor for violence and injury. For example, reducing alcohol harm as per SDG target 3.5 is related to preventing a range of violence and injury mechanisms such as self-harm, road-traffic injuries, poisoning, drowning, falls, fire, heat and hot substances.
Furthermore, violence and injury-prevention interventions involving reducing alcohol harm are found to be cost-effective. For example, every €1 invested in random breath-testing of drivers for alcohol would save €36.
WHO Europe notes that there has been progress between 2000 and 2016 in reducing death and trauma caused by violence and injuries. During these 16 years all-cause injury deaths fell by 30% in the European Region, compared with significant increases in most other WHO regions. However, progress is unequal among the countries ranging from 65% decrease to 6% increase. Injury mortality inequality is 5-fold across the European Region. Dr. Kluge calls for greater collaboration and coordination between countries to share best practices and experiences to prevent these violent and traumatic deaths within the Region in the long run.
Violence and injuries in Europe: burden, prevention and priorities for action. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe; 2020. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Download the report as PDF, here…