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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Global Violence Reduction Conference 2014

With support from the UBS Optimus Foundation, Cambridge University's Institute of Criminology Violence Research Centre (VRC) has collaborated with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to put on an international conference which is set to examine 'Strategies to Reduce Violence by 50% in the Next 30 Years". The VRC aims to advance knowledge of the causes, consequences and prevention of interpersonal violence. The main research interests of the VRC are "The development of aggression over the life-course; Evidence-based violence prevention; The epidemiology and consequences of violent victimisation; The causes for varying levels of violence between societies; and The cross-sectional comparison of risk factors for violence". (

Within the beautiful grounds of King's College in Cambridge, academics, international organisations as well as civil society and philanthropic organisations have come together with the aims to "identify the research we need, the knowledge we have, and the policy recommendations we can make to support the global policy goals of the WHO, especially in the regions most afflicted by violence" (Manuel Eisner, Director of the Violence Research Centre and Deputy & Director of the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge). 

The WHO were given a mandate to strengthen public policy that supports the reduction of violence. The purpose of this conference is to consider previous and on going research conducted by various academics and organisations around the world as a means to create an informed strategy to reduce violence globally. The mandate, set by the World Health Assembly in May 2014, needs to include strategies which are "informed by measurable indicators to assess whether goals are achieved; it will require strengthening of capacities to address and prevent violence in it's different manifestations; it will need multisectoral action plans and policies to reduce the major risk factors for violence". 

A range of topics will be covered over the next two days including:
-Linking Developmental Science and Prevention Research to Intervene More Effectively in Child Development' by Theresa Betancourt from Harvard University
-'Reducing Child Abuse: Tackling Challenges in High Violence Societies' by Bernadette Madrid from University of the Philippines. 
-'Global Strategies to Reduce Violence Against Children' by David Finkelhor from University of New Hampshire 
-'Treating Violent Offenders More Effectively: Alternatives to Punishment' by Friedrich Loesel from University of Cambridge. 

This amazing conference then comes to a finish with a lecture (open to the Public) by Steven Pinker from Harvard University on 'The Past, Present and Future of Violence'. He will address 'the widely-held impression that we are living in extraordinarily violent times, when in fact rates of violence at all scales have been in decline over the course of history'. 

Over the course of the next two days, an attempt will be made to blog about sessions, presenters, ideas, concepts and recommendations put forward to realise the goal to reduce violence by 50% in the next 30 years. 

A. Neaverson 

(Conference blog posts are published on-the-go so please excuse any typos or errors) 

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