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Violence, a leading cause of injuries and death, is recognized as a major public health problem. In 1996, injuries were the second leading cause of hospitalizations in Jamaica. The estimated annual cost of in-patient care for injuries was 11.6 million US dollars. To develop strategies to reduce the impact of violence-related injuries on Jamaican health care resources, the Ministry of Health, Division of Health Promotion and Protection (MOH/DHPP) in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Tropical Metabolic Research Institute, University of the West Indies Mona, designed and implemented a violence-related injury surveillance system (VRISS) at Kingston Public Hospital (KPH). In 1998, the VRISS, based on the International Classification of External Cause of Injury (ICECI), was implemented in the accident and emergency (A&E) department of Jamaica's tertiary care hospital, KPH. VRISS collects demographic, method and circumstance of injury, victim-perpetrator relationship and patient's discharge status data. From 8/1/98 to 7/31/99, data on 6,107 injuries were collected. Injuries occurred primarily among males aged 25-44 years. Most injuries (54%; 3171) were caused by use of a sharp object. Nearly half (49%; 2992) were perpetrated by acquaintances. The majority, 70% (4,252), were the result of a fight or argument and 17% were admitted to the hospital. The VRISS utilized A&E department data to characterize violence-related injuries in Jamaica, a resource-limited environment. These data will be used to guide intervention development to reduce violence-related injuries in Jamaica.