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Healthy Living

Domestic Violence Is A Major Public Health Problem In The U.S.

At a Harvard-led event, researchers discuss how to prevent it.

Domestic violence is a crime, but it’s also a serious public health problem. Those who experience it are at a higher risk of mental health disorders, chronic diseases and infections. They’re also more likely to die.

Domestic violence is also a lot more common than you’d think. Nearly one in four women and one in seven men in the U.S. have experienced physical violence at the hands of their domestic partners, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, experts on intimate partner violence gathered at The Forum at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to discuss the factors that put some at risk for domestic violence, the physical and emotional impact of domestic violence on individuals, families and communities, and the annual financial cost ― estimated in the trillions ― from lost productivity, health care and law enforcement. The experts discussed research-backed ways to prevent domestic violence and promote healthy, respectful and nonviolent relationships.

The hour-long panel event, which took place Monday, Oct. 24, featured Anke Hoeffler, a researcher who specializes in the economics of conflict at Oxford University, LY Marlow, founder of the national domestic violence prevention organization Saving Promise, James Mercy, director of the division of violence prevention at the CDC, and Michelle Williams, dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Senior reporter Melissa Jeltsen of The Huffington Post moderated the panel. If you missed the event, video of the entire panel will be available shortly at the Forum at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics