State By State Advocacy

Just the Facts: A Pop Quiz

Do you know the answers to these critical questions concerning violent death?

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?

A neighbor
Another child
Their parent/caretaker

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.

2 hours
14 hours
2 days

6. What life crisis most commonly precedes a suicide?

Loss of a job
Confrontation with law enforcement

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 violent act?

24 hours
2 weeks
5 years

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 Us

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 Solution:

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 Prevention.
  • 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 and suicide.

For more information, call Kate McFadyen, National Violence Prevention Network, at (202) 466-2044 x 107.