Violence and injury observatories: Reducing the burden of injury in high-risk communities


  • Ardil Jabar University of Cape Town
  • Richard Matzopoulos



violence and injury observatories, injury surveillance systems



The meaning of an observatory has expanded recently from its origins in astronomy to that of specialised informational repositories and knowledge building centres housing cross-referenced databases with advanced analytic and research capacities. The purpose of the violence and injury observatories is directed toward preventing crime and violence at the local and regional level. Data around the burden of violence and injury for the African continent is limited and often not collected periodically thus limiting the implementation and evaluation of timely violence prevention interventions.


An observatory is primarily a tool to support the authorities in formulating effective responses to citizen safety and security issues. It is a centre dedicated to systematising information from different sources to produce periodic analyses or studies, to show the development of crime and violence in a given area. These surveillance systems primarily comprise two components: (1) Collection, analysis and interpretation of violence and injury data (2) Dissemination of findings to stakeholders within the safety and security cluster and the general public. There are several important data collection strategies which include health surveys, administrative data, mandatory reports and studies of special groups. Surveillance data initially may be analysed in terms of time, place, and person, by looking at time trends and geographic distribution and comparing age, sex, and population groups. Advanced data analysis methods for surveillance data include space-time clustering, time-series analysis, geospatial analysis, life tables, logistic regression, trend and small area analysis and methods for the forecast of epidemics based on surveillance data


Violence and injury observatories seeks to collect comprehensive data on violence and injury data with the system serving as a platform for violence prevention intervention development and evaluation for their respective sites.


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Author Biography

Ardil Jabar, University of Cape Town

School of Public Health and Family Medicine

PhD student


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