Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Coping With The Reality Of Violence

I've been struggling with a part of my chapter concerning injury science. I've written about the history, theories and concepts of injury science, and I'm trying to apply the theories and concepts to activities associated with preparing a person to survive a violent encounter ('Survival Activities'). It has such potential to shine a very bright light on Survival Activities that I do not want to prejudice its potential by a poor application the first time it is introduced to Survival Activities.

This morning I read: A world of illusion: Coping with the reality of violence. It is an essay concerning violence and what we can do. The author asks, 'What can we do?' He suggests, 'The best we can do is take those measures that are prudent,' and 'The best you can do is take whatever measures are reasonable in your particular environment.' Injury science offers ways and means of operationalising this advice.

It takes a chapter to get to this point, but we'll start at this point in this blog - Haddon's Matrix. William Haddon provided a matrix that is designed to analyse any injury, harm or damage event. It takes all the factors that contribute to injury, harm or damage into account and over the time frame associated with said injury, harm or damage. The factors and phases are cross tabulated to form a nine cell matrix.

The factors are based on epidemiology. They are host (person injured), vector or vehicle (animate or inanimate object inflicting the injury), and environment (physical, social, cultural, etc). The phases are before the interaction of host and vector (before assault), during interaction (assault), and after interaction (after assault).

Injury science is about prevention and control. The control aspect refers to minimising injury and the effects of injury should prevention measures fail. The simple prevention model abandons you if prevention measures fail - as do most Survival Activities teachings.

This matrix is an analytical tool and a strategy brainstorming tool. It aids us in analysing an injury event (act of violence). It aids us in analysing the risk of an injury event. It provides multiple intervention points to prevent or control injury in the case of a violent event. The traditional martial arts model tends to focus on the host-vector cell alone. There are eight more cells where interventions can be introduced to prevent or control injuries arising from a violent event.

The Haddon Matrix forces you to think about all the factors and all the phases in an injury/violent event. It then encourages you to consider interventions at the different stages and with the different factors that contribute to the event. The author of the abovementioned post quite rightly referred to environment. However, it is the interactions between the host (victim or potential victim), vector (aggressor), and the environment that define the injury event. All three and their interaction have to be considered. Typically, this is poorly done in the martial arts and self defence courses.

This topic is far too detailed and large for a blog post. This post is designed to (a) inform the reader there is a tool that assists in developing strategies to counter the effects of violence, (b) introduce the reader to the Haddon Matrix concept, and (c) interest the reader in my work.

1 comment:

  1. John, Recently this Danish study on PTSD was released, and when I heard about it I thought I must note that to JC (John Coles) - I presume you have already come accross it but if not here is a relevant link.

    All the best - Paul



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