Violence Prevention

Cycle of Violence

What is violence?

Violence is the intentional use of physical force or power resulting in harm to another person or oneself. It is a complex and widespread health issue that can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or race. 

What is the cycle of violence?

According to the AHA/ACHI Hospital Approaches to Interupt the Cycle of Violence guide, exposure to violence significantly increases the likelihood of an individual being a perpetrator of violence or experiencing repeated violent injury in the future, creating an ongoing cycle of violence.

How can hospitals and health system prevent violence?

Hospitals are increasingly identifying violence as a community health need. In a review of community health needs assessments from 2011–2014, the Health Research & Educational Trust found that 23 percent of hospitals identified violence as a community health need and 12 percent of those hospitals selected it as a priority for addressing through an intervention. Hospitals can interrupt the cycle of violence by integrating violence prevention strategies at three levels:

Prevention Stages

Stories from the Field

Emerson Hospital
Trauma Recovery Center, University of California
Sinai-Grace Hospital

Quick Facts

*More than 55,000 deaths and 2.5 million violence-related injuries occur every year (AHA)
*On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States (NCADV)
*12 percent of nonprofit hospitals identified community violence prevention as a priority need in their community health needs assessment (AHA)



American Hospital Association's Hospital Against Violence Campaign

The AHA 's Hospitals Against Violence Hope (#HAVhope) Friday is a digital media campaign focused on bringing national attention to ending all forms of violence and encouraging hospitals, health systems and community organizations to stand together against violence. Become a supporter by tweeting or submitting a photo that highlights your efforts of combatting violence in the community you serve.

Eugene WoodsThe June 9 HAVhope Day of Awareness is an outgrowth of a Hospital Against Violence campaign initiated by the AHA Board of Trustees to give voice to hospital efforts that combat violence in their communities and their facilities.  While violence is different from one community to another, it has become a major public health and safety issue for nearly everyone in our country. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 2.3 million people are treated in U.S. emergency departments each year for violent injuries and violence costs more than $85 billion annually in medical expenses and lost productivity. What is constant, however, is the commitment of hospitals and health systems in helping their employees, patients and communities address violence in whatever form it may take.HAVhope Banner


Eugene Woods
nt and CEO of Carolinas HealthCare System

2017 Chairman of the AHA Board of Trustees

Visit to learn more.

Podcasts on Violence Prevention

As part of the Hospitals Against Violence campaign, the AHA interviewed various hospitals across the country that have institutionalized a violence prevention program upon learning violence is a prominent health issue in the communities they serve. Listen to some initiatives hospitals have adopted to combat violence in their community.

Advocate Christ Medical Center
James Doherty, MD, Director of Trauma Surgery
Wendell Oman, Vice President of Mission and Spiritual Care
Kelly Guglielmi, MD, Chief Medical Officer

The speakers share how the hospital partnered with CeaseFire and applied a public health model to tackle violence as soon as a victim-of-crime enters the hospital.

Sinai Hospital - LifeBridge Health
Lane Levine, Population Health Project Manager
Darleen Won, Assistant Vice President, Population Health Beth Huber, Manager
Ademola Ekulona, Program Director, Kujichagulia Center

Through the Kujichagulia Center, Sinai Hospital has focused efforts on the social and economic determinants of violence. The center provides educational and vocational training to youth to help them escape the cycle of violence. 

University of Maryland Medical Center
Anne Williams, Director of Community Health Improvement
Erin Walton, Clinical Supervisor, Violence Prevention Program

The hospital uses an individual’s admission to the hospital from violent injury as an entry point to start intensive case management by surrounding the victim with social and medical support. 

St. Louis Children’s Hospital
Margie Batek, Social Worker

Batek shares how St. Louis Children’s Hospital coordinates wraparound social and medical services for children impacted by violence through their Victim of Violence program. The program has successfully curbed the reoccurrence of interpersonal violence for the children and families that participate.

University of Vermont Medical Center
Sister Patricia McKittrick, Community Health Improvement Coordinator

Sister Pat shares how University of Vermont Medical Center is building community and social cohesion through their Peace Initiative to address hidden forms of violence in their community such as domestic violence and human trafficking.

Listen to other podcasts on violence prevention here.

Community Highlights

Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa showing their support for #HAVhope day!

Mercy Medical Center









New York Presbyterian Hospital is thankful for our community health workers who love to serve our local medical community! #CHIWeek