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Public Health Approach

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What is a Public Health Approach?

Public Health is about looking after the health, wellbeing and safety of entire populations. A Public Health Approach requires cooperation and collaboration across a range of partners, including around data sharing. Violence was identified as a Public Health problem in 1996 (49th World Health Assembly).

The Approach is a science based four step process:

  1. Identify or define the problem: Normally this step includes data gathering to find out who, what, why, where and when. Data can come from health, local authorities, police, probation and other sources and partners.
  2. Identify any possible causes: Look for evidence of factors that put people at risk of being a victim or perpetrator of violence and any factors that may prevent this from happening.
  3. Develop and evaluate interventions: Use the data to design, implement and evaluate interventions to prevent crime.

Scale it up: If evaluation shows that the intervention works, then it should be scaled up across organisations, communities, police forces and across the whole of Wales, while continuing to evaluate for how well it continues to deliver and its cost-effectiveness.


WHO – Steps of the Public Health Approach

Infographic showing the steps of the public health approach which were detailed in the text above

WHO | The public health approach


Delivery focuses on three main areas. Public Health categorises prevention into three categories (see also Models and Examples of Crime Prevention on the Crime and Crime Prevention page): 

  • Primary prevention: preventing crime before it happens
  • Secondary prevention: immediate response to instances of crime 
  • Tertiary prevention: focusing on long term care and rehabilitation

Help and Support

For victims, families and concerned people

For help and support see Violence Prevention or the specifics under each of the topic areas.