Injury and Violence Prevention News

Summer 2007
In this issue:
1. New Report Describes the Costs of Sexual Violence in Minnesota
2. CDC Reports on Costs of All Violence
3. New Report is First on Hospital-treated Dog Bites in Minnesota
4. Register Now for Many Faces of Community Health

1. New Report Describes the Costs of Sexual Violence in Minnesota

Sexual assault in Minnesota cost approximately $8 billion in 2005, according to the state’s first-ever report on the estimated economic impact of rape and other forms of sexual assault, titled Costs of Sexual Violence in Minnesota http://www.health.state.mn.us/svp. It was prepared by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation and the MDH Sexual Violence Prevention Program.

According to the report, 61,000 Minnesota children and adults were sexually assaulted in 2005, some of them more than once, for a total of 77,000 assaults. Of those who were assaulted, 80 percent were female and 29 percent were under age 18. One in 70 Minnesota children was sexually assaulted, with the highest rate among girls aged 13-17.

Cost per sexual assault was estimated at $184,000 for children and $139,000 for adults. Costs included medical and mental health care for victims, lost work and other quality-of-life issues, victim services, and criminal justice costs. Victims can have additional costs related to sexually-transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancies, suicide, and substance abuse.

In 2005, Minnesota state government spent about $121 million on treatment and confinement of perpetrators of sexual violence and about $63 million on medical costs and other services for victims. Some federal funds ($823,000) come to Minnesota each year for programs aimed at preventing sexual violence.

As a first step toward developing a statewide plan to prevent sexual violence, 52 people from varied perspectives attended a two-day planning retreat in August. The plan is now being written.



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2. CDC Reports on Costs of All Violence

Violence-related injuries, including suicide, adversely affect the health and welfare of all Americans through premature death, disability, medical costs, and lost productivity. A new fact sheet http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/CostOfViolence.htm  estimates medical and productivity losses and recommends ways to reduce the economic burden of violence.

Total costs associated with nonfatal injuries and deaths due to interpersonal and self-directed violence in 2000 were more than $70 billion. Most of this cost was due to lost productivity, but nearly $6 billion was spent on medical care for the more than 2.5 million injuries due to violence.

Self-inflicted injuries, such as suicide and attempted suicide, cost Americans $33 billion annually. Interpersonal violence, such as homicide, child maltreatment, youth violence, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and other types of assaults, cost $37 billion.



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3. New Report is First on Hospital-treated Dog Bites in Minnesota

In its first report on hospital-treated dog bites in the state, MDH reviewed hospital records that showed a 40 percent increase in such incidents between 1998 and 2005. The report is summarized in a news release (http://www.health.state.mn.us/news/pressrel/bites071907.html)
and was published in the July 2007 issue of Minnesota Medicine (www.mmaonline.net/Publications/mn-med.cfm).

The largest increase was in dog bites treated in emergency departments. The highest rates of both hospitalization and emergency department treatment occurred among children ages one to four years. In 75 percent of the instances, the victim was familiar with the dog(s) involved. The dog bites most often occurred in the home (48 percent) and yard (18 percent).

Hospital records used in the study seldom documented the breed of the dog. Professional journal articles cited in the report indicate that identifying a single breed can lead to a false sense of security about other breeds. A dog’s tendency to bite is based on factors such as its early experiences, socialization, and the victim’s behavior, as well as the dog’s heredity.

The report recommended that physicians, especially pediatricians and family physicians, counsel parents about the importance of supervising their children and teaching them safe behaviors when they are around dogs.



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4. Register Now for Many Faces of Community Health

“Many Faces of Community Health” will be held October 11-12, 2007 at the Doubletree Park Place Hotel in St. Louis Park.  It will focus on improving health and reducing disparities in underserved populations and those living in poverty. The event includes clinical sessions on management of chronic conditions and breakouts on public policy and management topics.

The conference is designed for health professionals, community and social services staff, clinic administrators and finance managers, public health practitioners, and others working to improve the health status of at-risk and underserved populations.  Keynote speaker is Terie Dreussi Smith, MA Ed & OCPS II, co-author of Bridges Out of Poverty: Strategies for Professionals and Communities. Registration information is at http://manyfacesconference.org



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Also see > National Center for Injury Prevention & Control (NCIPC), at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for the latest injury prevention news at the national-level.


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Injury and Violence Prevention Unit
Minnesota Department of Health
PO BOX 64882
ST PAUL MN 55164-0882
(651) 201-5484
injury.prevention@health.state.mn.us

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