One of the ongoing objectives of the Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute is to provide pediatricians with practical information on issues whose importance is just becoming clear, issues that may not yet be adequately addressed in the usual pediatric reference sources. The prevention of violent behavior in children is one such issue. Recognizing that violent behavior has become part of the "new morbidity," that violence in adulthood may have its genesis in childhood, and that pediatricians can play an important role in preventing children from using violence, the Institute's board of trustees elected to explore the possibility of a conference on this topic. A group of experts—Jerome Hirschfeld, Howard Spivak, Don Schwarz, and Modena Wilson—was asked to advise the board of trustees on what general and specific content should be included in such a conference, which experts to invite for each subject, and how best to format a conference. Pleased with the suggestions of this group, who became a planning committee, the board agreed to support a conference that would offer recommendations for physician actions on both an individual and an organizational level.
The planning committee believed that the conference should focus on one of the things that pediatricians do best—prevention—and that it should be limited to primary prevention because of time considerations. Thus, the focus was on providing information that would help pediatricians in preventing violent behavior among all the children they care for, not only those children in families that may be at risk. These efforts would be in contrast to the secondary prevention efforts that would occur after a child has already been involved in violent activity or the tertiary efforts that might include special school or community programs or rehabilitative efforts for chronic violent offenders.
- Copyright © 1994 by the American Academy of Pediatrics