Contagion of Violence – Workshop Summary

In the past 25 years, there has been a shift in the field of violence prevention, from the assumption that violence is inevitable to the recognition that violence is preventable. In exploring the occurrence of violence, researchers have recognized the tendency for violent acts to cluster, to spread from place to place, and to mutate from one type to another – similar to the infectious disease model, in which an agent or vector initiates a specific biological pathway leading to symptoms of disease and infectivity. On April 30 – May 1, 2012, the IOM Forum on Global Violence Prevention held a workshop to explore the contagious nature of violence. The workshop focused on the epidemiology of the contagion, possible processes and mechanisms by which violence is transmitted, how contextual factors mitigate or exacerbate the issue, and ways in which the contagion of violence might be interrupted. This document summarizes the workshop.