Basic Facts about Violence

Jul 1999
This document is the first one of a series of technical notes that describe the nature and magnitude of violence in the region, its causes and effects, and how it can be prevented and controlled. The notes provide useful information on designing programs and policies to prevent and deal with violence. This chapter introduces the concept of violence and it limits the scope of its definition. An important characterization to highlight is the difference between violence and a violent crime. Certain violent acts, such as domestic violence, may be against the law in some countries but lawful in other countries. Secondly, because there is a causal relationship between criminal and non-criminal violence. Violence is a learned behavior, and a main school of violence is the home, which, for the most part, is an environment where violent behavior is not viewed as unlawful. Following this line of thought, a series of facts are pointed out: the forms violence can take, who are the perpetrators, figures of violence in the Americas, and which disciplines contribute to the study of violence.