The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) links details of violent deaths – the who, when, where, and how – and shares insights into why they occurred. NVDRS relies on information from coroner/medical examiner reports (including toxicology), law enforcement reports, and death certificates to pool anonymized data on violent deaths and their circumstances into one database. Such data are far more comprehensive than what is available elsewhere and decision-makers and program planners can use this information to develop and tailor violence prevention efforts.
For which types of deaths is information collected?
NVDRS compiles data for these types of cases:
• Deaths that occur while in the custody of law enforcement or a correctional facility (excluding legal executions)
• All firearm-related deaths
• Deaths of undetermined manner, including undetermined drug overdose deaths
Why does NVDRS collect information on deaths of undetermined intent?
NVDRS collects information on deaths with an undetermined intent because of this:
• Provides a more complete picture of violent deaths that may be intentional
• Allows public health professionals or data analysts to examine what unique factors result in an undetermined classification of manner of death
• Sheds light on drug overdose deaths that could not be classified as suicide or unintentional (the most common type of death of undetermined intent in NVDRS)
What types of data are collected?
Trained abstractors enter information into the encrypted, anonymized system according to standardized CDC guidelines. NVDRS collects data for all age groups and
includes information on:
• Injury characteristics (e.g., cause of death, type of location)
• Demographics (e.g., sex, race/ethnicity)
• Circumstances that preceded or were related to a victim’s death
• Mental health diagnoses
• Narratives that provide a brief summary of the incident based on law enforcement and coroner/ medical examiner reports
• More than 600 other unique data elements
What can NVDRS data be used to do?
• Uncover timely topics and emerging issues related to violent deaths
• Reveal important variations in patterns of violent deaths across locations, populations, and overtime
• Better understand the circumstances that contribute to violence in the county, state, or territory
• Guide, inform, and help target and evaluate violence prevention efforts, including suicide prevention
• Greater understanding of violent and undermined deaths
• More effective use of violence prevention resources
• Healthier, safer communities
What is the role of Coroners/Medical Examiners in NVDRS?
Coroners and medical examiners and the data they provide are an essential component of the NVDRS. Without their partnership, NVDRS could not assess circumstances of violent deaths or patterns in injury characteristics and other critical information that help local communities identify the most important contributing factors to violent deaths, which in turn helps prevention partners develop effective prevention strategies. When coroners and medical examiners provide detailed information in their reports, NVDRS can be used to develop more thorough insights into why these violent deaths occurred and identify ways to prevent future violent deaths.
Is the information in NVDRS secure?
What protections are in place?
Since NVDRS data collection began in 2003, there have been no reported data breaches. Participating NVDRS states enter data into an encrypted, web-based system. The VDRS states submit this information to CDC using the most up-to-date security protocols. Local laws that protect other types of health department records, such as communicable
disease records, also apply to NVDRS files.
For further information on NVDRS, visit https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nvdrs.