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Addressing the Socioeconomic Safety Divide: A Policy Briefing


World Health Organization (WHO)

Subject Keywords: Socioeconomic status, Injury, Violence, Disadvantaged group
Topic: Health Inequalities
Chronic Conditions
Health Inequalities
Type: Report
Region: International (other)

Injury and violence are a leading cause of death and disability in the WHO European Region. Wealth is a major determinant of health, and there is a steep social gradient of ill health due to injuries and violence. People in low- and middle-income countries and more deprived people in high-income countries are worse off. Social and economic policies affect families’ susceptibility to injury by affecting social and physical environments. This policy briefing summarizes evidence on the socioeconomic safety divide from a large systematic review. It then provides messages for policy-makers, researchers and public health advocates and safety planners on what can be done to address this safety divide. Action for preventing injury and violence needs to be intersectoral. Governments need to aim for equity across all types of government policies to address the uneven distribution of injuries. Action needs to be taken both to reduce injuries and violence universally in the population using passive interventions to make the social and physical environment inherently safer and to target disadvantaged populations. Addressing this important cause of inequity in health is a matter of social justice.



Rights: © WHO
Suggested citation:

World Health Organization (WHO). (2009) Addressing the Socioeconomic Safety Divide: A Policy Briefing [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 21st July 2019].


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