Just the Facts: A Pop Quiz
Do you know the answers to these critical questions concerning
1. What percent of women killed in domestic
violence attacks had a restraining order against the offender?
2. Where are youths most likely to obtain
the weapons they use in acts of violence?
3. a. How often do multiple homicides
occur in public places like schools and workplaces?
b. Has this number increased or decreased over time?
4. How many drug-related homicides are
there in the United States each year?
5. Every _____ a child dies as a result
of child abuse.
6. What life crisis most commonly precedes
Loss of a job
7. When a firearm is used in a homicide
or suicide, what is the typical length of time between
the purchase of that firearm and the occurrence of the
8. One out of every _____ homicides involves
the use of an assault weapon.
9. What percent of youth suicide victims
are intoxicated at the time they commit suicide?
What We Don’t Know Is Killing
While we know the number of violent
deaths – nearly
50,000 each year – WE ARE UNABLE TO ANSWER EVEN ONE
OF THESE QUESTIONS based on available national data systems.
It may be hard to believe, but although
various agencies collect some of the data relevant to these
questions, there is no national system in place that gathers
and links the information into a useable database. With
the current fragmented system, we can’t answer these
and many other critical questions.
The National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) will:
- permit us to answer these and many other questions by
collecting and linking data about all violent deaths, including
all homicides and suicides.
- collect and link data at the state
level, with funding and coordination provided at the
national level by the Centers for Disease Control and
- compile and combine data from medical
examiners, coroners, death certificates, crime labs and
law enforcement officers providing a more complete understanding
of when, where and how violent deaths occur.
- include timely information on the circumstances of the
deaths and the relationship between victims and offenders.
To protect confidentiality, names and personal identifiers
will not be part of the national dataset.
While the system is improving with NVDRS in 18 states, it needs to become a truly national system.
The NVDRS will help police, policy-makers,
violence prevention groups and public health experts develop
and evaluate strategies to reduce deaths, including those
caused by child abuse, domestic violence, youth violence
For more information, call Paul Bonta, National Violence Prevention Network, at (202) 466-2044.