CDC Measures Violence Against Children, Sparks Action
The Linda Saltzman New Investigator Award recognizes an outstanding new investigator with 2-10 years of experience working in the field of the prevention of intimate partner violence, domestic violence, sexual violence or dating violence. Futures Without Violence, CDC and a committee of experts selects an outstanding individual to receive the award every other year. The recipient receives passage to the National Conference on Health and Domestic Violence and a stipend.
Senior Scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Linda Saltzman, PhD, connected research to policy and science to advocacy in ways that broke new ground, challenging the research community to explore violence and helping advocates base their work on science.
Dr. Saltzman worked at the CDC from 1984 until her death in 2005. While there, she initiated numerous studies that built understanding about the causes and consequences of domestic and sexual violence. Much of her work focused on public health surveillance of violence against women, and violence as it relates to pregnancy and other reproductive health issues. She helped develop and test uniform definitions for intimate partner and sexual violence, which have made data collection more effective. She became one of the CDC’s top experts on violence, and one of the violence prevention movement’s most trusted allies. A highly regarded expert, Dr. Saltzman authored and co-authored several groundbreaking studies including Intimate Partner Violence Surveillance: Uniform Definitions and Recommended Data Elements.
As shocking as these numbers are, the actual occurrence of sexual violence is likely higher because most cases are never reported to authorities due to fear, stigma and discrimination.
The consequences of this injustice are profound. Not only do victims of sexual violence experience immense health and emotional effects, but there are also broader social and economic implications for countries, particularly those where the occurrence of sexual violence is more prevalent.
Together, we can build societies where all children are safe and valued. Your gift can help protect children from sexual violence and abuse by funding violence surveillance and prevention activities.
In 2002, the World Health Organization estimated that 150 million girls under the age of 18 had experienced some form of sexual violence. Recent studies also indicate that as one in three girls, and one in seven boys, experience sexual violence before age 18—and over half of all children experience physical violence before age 18.
Beyond the severe human rights violations, children who experience violence are at greater risk for lifelong, destructive—yet preventable—consequences, including HIV infection, chronic diseases, crime and drug abuse, as well as serious mental health problems.
The CDC Foundation is a charter member of Together for Girls, a public-private partnership dedicated to ending violence against children, with a focus on sexual violence against girls. Founded by CDC Foundation Board Member and former Chair Gary Cohen, executive vice president of BD, Together for Girls is a global intersection of governments, the United Nations, civil society and the private sector that have joined together to prevent and respond to violence against children.
Partnership efforts focus on three pillars:
To date, CDC has conducted Violence Against Children Surveys (VACS) in Cambodia, Haiti, Kenya, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, which have all released their survey results. These surveys—funded in part by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)—are also underway or planned in 10 additional countries.
Led and owned by national governments, VACS have greatly advanced understanding of the scale of violence against children, the links to gender inequality and HIV infection, and the circumstances that make children vulnerable to violence. The surveys are also sparking innovative solutions by country leaders and civil society.
Photo: © UNICEF/Haviv