Reps. Maloney, Quigley, Cicilline Lead Call to Fully Fund National Violent Death Reporting System

Apr 6, 2017
Press Release
40 House Democrats Sign Letter Urging House Appropriators to Fund System That Collects Data on Violent Deaths

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney and Reps. Mike Quigley (D-IL), David Cicilline (D-RI), and 37 other House Democrats called on the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee to fund the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) at a level that supports data collection in all 50 states. Rep. Quigley has offered an appropriations amendment to secure this funding every year for the past three years.

“I’ve always said good data is the key to good policymaking,” said Rep. Maloney. “That’s true whether you’re talking about the economy or about the public health epidemic of gun violence. NVDRS data is a crucial tool for us to evaluate trends in violent death, and examine policy interventions that can reduce violent tragedies. I’m proud to work with Rep. Quigley, Rep. Cicilline, and our 37 other co-signers to encourage $23.5 million in funding for this critical program.”

 “Simply put, the NVDRS system saves lives,” said Rep. Quigley. “Violent deaths are preventable, and with the right information, we can empower public health officials and policymakers to design and implement targeted prevention efforts. We must ensure that every state in the nation has access to this life-saving data.” 

“Nothing is more important than ensuring the safety and security of our communities,” said Rep. Cicilline. “This funding will provide critical resources for states to crack down on violent crime and develop strategies that keep families safe. I’m pleased to join Congressman Quigley and Congresswoman Maloney in leading this request, and I look forward to fighting for these important funds.”

“Funding for NVDRS means an investment in protecting the lives of Americans,” said Michael A. Barry, CAE, Executive Director of the American College of Preventive Medicine. “NVDRS is a low-cost program that yields high-quality results. The ability to collect data surrounding violent deaths, including homicides and suicides, gives public health and law enforcement officials the ability to analyze trends and devise strategies to address the factors that contribute to these deaths.”

Representatives Adam B. Schiff, Ben Ray Luján, Chellie Pingree, Daniel W. Lipinski, Danny K. Davis, Darren Soto, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Diana DeGette, Donald S. Beyer Jr., Earl Blumenauer, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Elijah E. Cummings, Eliot L. Engel, Elizabeth H. Esty, G. K. Butterfield, Gwen S. Moore, J. Luis Correa, Jan Schakowsky, Jerry McNerney, Jim Langevin, Joe Courtney, John B. Larson, John Conyers, Jr., John Lewis, John Yarmuth, Kathleen M. Rice, Kathy Castor, Louise Slaughter, Marc Veasey, Mark DeSaulnier, Mark Pocan, Niki Tsongas, Raúl M. Grijalva, Robert C. "Bobby" Scott, Robin L. Kelly, Stephen F. Lynch, and Steve Cohen signed the letter.

 

The full text of the letter is copied below, and a final copy with a full list of signatures is available here.

 

Dear Chairman Cole and Ranking Member DeLauro:

As you begin work on the fiscal year 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, we request $23.5 million for the National Violent Death Reporting System within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention budget for fiscal year (FY) 2018.

The National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) is state-based system that centralizes information from a variety of state and local agencies and sources such as law enforcement, medical examiners, crime labs, and death certificates to provide a more comprehensive picture of the circumstances surrounding violent deaths.  The system tracks deaths caused by child abuse, domestic abuse, suicide, and homicide which enables states to develop effective strategies to address root causes and implement strategies for prevention.  Furthermore, the NVDRS allows the public health research community to access a rich data set that can be analyzed to study the circumstances that lead to violent deaths in our communities.

Each year more than 58,000Americans die violently. Despite this staggering loss of life, we lack comprehensive data about the circumstances surrounding these deaths. An issue of particular concern is the alarmingly high suicide rate among active and former military personnel — estimated to be 20 percent of all suicides nationally. But due to the lack of comprehensive national data, this estimate is based solely on information obtained from states currently funded to participate in the NVDRS.

In fact, the current NVDRS budget provides enough resources for only 42 states to track data on violent deaths; another 2 states have successfully applied for grants but received no money due to insufficient funding. With a $7.5 million dollar increase in FY16 NVDRS budget, we can expand this critical program to the remaining eight states and the District of Columbia. Data collected through NVDRS has led to effective programs in participating states all across the country, which have reduced suicide rates and other instances of violent deaths. Given these positive results, additional funding is warranted and would allow all states to design and implement targeted violent-death prevention programs.

We believe that the NVDRS is a cost-effective and integral component to the long-term success of local efforts to better understand and ultimately reduce violent deaths in our communities. 

Thank you in advance for your thoughtful attention to this matter.

Sincerely,