01.02.03. Prevalence or burden of injury and violence | Jamaica

01.02.03. Prevalence or burden of injury and violence | Jamaica

24 Sep 2022

According to the JHLS-III survey (2016-2017), unintentional injuries were the most common cause of injuries which required medical attention among Jamaicans. As per the universal trend, more men (1.8%) than women (0.4%) reported sustaining major injuries, including those sustained during road traffic accidents, which peaked among the 25–34-year-old age group (Ministry of Health Jamaica, 2018).

However, the prevalence of unintentional injuries not related to road traffic accidents were most prevalent among the 65–74-year-olds at 3.4% and were largely due to falls in both, the workplace and the home (Ministry of Health Jamaica, 2018).

Regarding violence, on average, almost 8% of Jamaicans 15 years or older have witnessed a violent act, with more men (8.8%) than women (6.9%) reporting this. In addition, more than half of Jamaicans 15 years and older had a history of child abuse, with 13% reporting experiences of daily abuse. 7.4% of Jamaicans reported a lifetime history of sexual abuse as well, mainly perpetrated by a neighbour, friend, or acquaintance (Ministry of Health Jamaica, 2018).

Elder Abuse

There is a dearth of information on the prevalence of elder abuse in Jamaica. Though the National Council of Senior Citizen (NCSC) has a toll-free number where individuals may report such cases, it has been reported that gathering this statistics relies exclusively on direct reporting via telephone. Additionally, there has been no consistent publication on elder abuse statistics, apart from what is reported by the NCSC. In 2015, there were 17 reported cases (14 females & 3 males). The actions taken following reported incidents were not reported (Eldemire-Shearer, et al., 2020).

STRiDE Jamaica contacted the NCSC in April 2020 to gather more recent data on elder abuse. It was reported that NCSC currently does not have the jurisdiction to handle cases of elder abuse and are only allowed to record, assess, and report such cases to law enforcement. NCSC outlines the reporting procedures as follows: after a report is made, a social worker arranges to visit the alleged residence of abuse and then completes an Elder Abuse Report form with the requisite information gathered from the assessment and observations made. Should the suspected abuse be confirmed, the social worker refers the case to law enforcement for further investigation. Other recommendations and referrals to other agencies, where applicable, are made to services such as the Victim Support Unit, Medication and Family Counselling, Mental Health Assessment, and inter alia may also be made by the Social worker.

In the event social workers are unable to enter the premises of a suspected victim due to perpetrator refusal, and, among others, the location and/or circumstances are dangerous, the case is automatically handed over to the police.

The STRiDE team anticipates that this injury landscape may have implications for issues like head injury and brain damage among the affected 65-74 year old age group, while the violence and mental health landscape may have implications for mental health of the population as it ages.


Eldemire-Shearer, D., Willie-Tyndale, D., Robinson, C., McKoy Davis, J. (2020). Elder Abuse – An Examination of the situation in Jamaica. In: Shankardass, M. (eds). International Handbook of Elder Abuse and Mistreatment. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-8610-7_10

Ministry of Health Jamaica. (2018). Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey III: Preliminary Findings. https://www.moh.gov.jm/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Jamaica-Health-and-Lifestyle-Survey-III-2016-2017.pdf