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Jornal de Pediatria
Print version ISSN 0021-7557
PHEBO, Luciana and MOURA, Anna Tereza M. S. de. Urban violence: a challenge for pediatricians. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2005, vol.81, n.5, suppl., pp. s189-s196. ISSN 0021-7557. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0021-75572005000700009.
OBJECTIVES: To present the main aspects of an approach to urban violence among children and adolescents and to point out the social and educational role of pediatricians. SOURCES OF DATA: A literature review based on MEDLINE, LILACS and SciELO was carried out for the years 1993 to 2005, using the following keywords: urban violence, children and adolescents. In addition to the review, policies and institutional reports on violence were also analyzed. SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS: The causal relationship of violence is presented in a range of different ways, from personal points of view to broader structural aspects. The literature suggests that urban violence results from varied actions, and also from specific risk behaviors. It is a worrying and complex phenomenon that results in high levels of morbidity and mortality, affecting children and adolescents. Special attention was given to homicide and to the psychological results of violent acts. Firearms are the most lethal instruments among adolescents and young males when compared to all other causes of death. CONCLUSIONS: Urban violence is one of the main social problems in Brazil. Violence prevention requires intersectoral and multiprofessional actions with the participation of the government and of the organized civil society. Children, and above all adolescents, are the groups that are most widely exposed to the consequences of urban violence. Pediatricians can have an important role in the process of prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Through their wide-ranging abilities, pediatricians are well-positioned to help victims and their families to establish a healthy and dynamic relationship with their environment and with themselves.
Keywords : Children; adolescents; homicide; firearms.