Connecting the Dots: State Health Department Approaches to Addressing Shared Risk and Protective Factors Across Multiple Forms of Violence

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Violence takes many forms, including intimate partner violence, sexual violence, child abuse and neglect, bullying, suicidal behavior, and elder abuse and neglect. These forms of violence are interconnected and often share the same root causes. They can also co-occur together in families and communities and can happen at the same time or at different stages of life. Often, due to a variety of factors, separate, “siloed” approaches are used to address each form of violence. However, understanding and implementing approaches that prevent and address the overlapping root causes of violence (risk factors) and promote factors that increase the resilience of people and communities (protective factors) can help practitioners more effectively and efficiently use limited resources to prevent multiple forms of violence and save lives. This article presents approaches used by 2 state health departments, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, to integrate a shared risk and protective factor approach into their violence prevention work and identifies key lessons learned that may serve to inform crosscutting violence prevention efforts in other states.

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