NSC Takes Helm of WHO's 'Safe Communities' Initiative in U.S.

As part of yesterday's opening session kicking off the National Safety Council's 95th Congress and Expo in Chicago, Dr. Leif Svanstrom, head of the Stockholm, Sweden-based World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Community Safety Promotion was on hand to officially recognize NSC as the leader of WHO's "Safe Communities" initiative in the United States. In this role, the council will provide support and guidance for American communities pursuing the WHO "Safe Community" designation.

Conceived by WHO in 1989, a "Safe Community" is a community that aspires to safety with a structured approach including education and environmental change along with legislation and enforcement of policies. Worldwide, only 120 communities have achieved the recognition. According to WHO, these communities have:

  • An infrastructure based on partnership and collaborations, governed by a cross- sectional group that is responsible for safety promotion in their community;
  • Long-term, sustainable programs covering both genders and all ages, environments, and situations;
  • Programs that target high-risk groups and environments, and programs that promote safety for vulnerable groups;
  • Programs that document the frequency and causes of injuries;
  • Evaluation measures to assess their programs, processes and the effects of change;
  • Ongoing participation in national and international Safe Communities networks.

For information on how to become a member of the International Safe Community Network, visit http://www.phs.ki.se/csp/who_safe_communities_member_en.htm.

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