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Emory University

Understanding Violence

Emory University via Coursera


We are so pleased to have you join us as we investigate this crucial topic.

Violence is a leading cause of death, disability and health care use worldwide. Violence is a complex problem and can only be understood and reduced though a multidisciplinary approach.

This course introduces you to experts who study different forms of violence and we will discuss the various causes of violence. You will also learn about efforts to reduce violence and engage in a day of compassion.

We are very fortunate that PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER is participating in our course. He delivers a lecture on the efforts of the Carter Center to end violence around the world, and he engages in a discussion with us about his life and work in human rights.

Do join us for short videos, readings and discussions. And also see our coffee chats, where we (Pamela and Deb) summarize and reflect on each module.

And we want to hear from you! Feel free to reach out via Twitter or through the course, or through our Facebook Page:


  • Overview of Violence
    • We begin the course by defining violence and discussing why violence can be difficult to identify and measure. We will review the rates of violence in the U.S. and globally.
  • Types of Violence
    • The following videos will help learners become familiar with specific types of violence, including intimate partner violence, suicide, sexual violence, youth violence including cyber-bullying, child maltreatment, elder maltreatment, and gang violence.
  • Biological, Social, & Psychological Contributors of Violence
    • In this module we identify what environmental features increase likelihood for violence in individuals and take a look at the associations with substance use and violence. Learners have a chance to review theories around biological and genetic predispositions and responses to violence. Finally, we examine religious perspectives and issues around violence.
  • Consequences of Violence
    • We begin this module reviewing the psychological effects of violence including PTSD, depression, and suicidality. Then we assess the economic impact of violence and injuries. We will explore violence in relation to the criminal justice system, and recognize the long-term impact of sexual violence in wartime.
  • Media Portrayal of Violence
    • In this module we explore how violence is represented in films in terms of character and narrative and we consider how violence is reported in the news, specifically discussing desensitization.
  • Controlling Violence
    • We close this course comparing different types of violence prevention programs (primary vs. secondary; public health vs. criminal justice) and identifying key elements of successful violence prevention programs.

Taught by

Deb Houry and Pamela Scully


4.6 rating, based on 5 Class Central reviews

4.6 rating at Coursera based on 258 ratings

Start your review of Understanding Violence

  • Cynthia Abner
    Peer assessments give you no reasons for grade just numbers. It's set up as either 2 or 0 with no place to say what was wrong with what you assessed. You can however have your work reassessed by staff.
  • Sardar Hussain Salarzai
    it is very interesting and practical keeping in view the day to day life .i found this very helpful for understanding the human life problems
  • Dr Shamsul Alam
    This course of Domestic Violence is of a fundamental aspect of Gender Studies. I think a Gender Justice is possible on two fulfillment of criteria - 1. Make society free from patriarchal Violence against women in Domestic and external peripheries & 2. Make society a just one free from disempowerment of women. Unless Domestic violence is stopped, women empowerment is a distant dream. That's why, the online certificate course on Domestic Violence taught by Emory University is a much-needed subject which I prefer. In this world of Gender Justice as a cry for the humankind, UN Women takes a vital role to play to which I may be a contributor. Simultaneously, I may be a social activist in USA virtuo of taking the online course.

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