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July 15, 2019
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ADPH Statement: Tackling violence as a public health duty

The Government has announced plans to legislate for a new public health duty on local councils and other public bodies to tackle serious violence. This follows a consultation which the ADPH responded to.

Responding to the results of the Government’s consultation, ADPH Vice-President Jim McManus said:

“We welcome efforts by the Home Office to deepen its understanding of how a public health approach to violence can deliver safer communities.

Lessons from Scotland, London and across the UK, show the value of partnership working across local public services and there are some great examples of how this place-based, voluntary approach is preventing violent crime and replacing despair with hope.

Directors of Public Health are contributing their expertise and leadership to this collective action - and will continue to do so.

However, we have to be honest about the mismatch between the Government's word and its actions. Whilst talking about a public health approach to violence, it continues to cut the public health grant to local government - amounting to £850 million since 2014/15. This funding is vital to deliver many of the services that transform prevention rhetoric into reality, such as drug treatment and early years services.

A duty without the funding to deliver it - and to tackle the causes of crime - risks being an empty gesture."

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