UNODC Report



The Global Study on Homicide 2013 seeks to shed light on the worst of crimes — the intentional killing of one human being by another. Beyond resulting in the deaths of nearly half a million people in 2012, this form of violent crime has a broad impact on security — and the perception of security — across all societies. This study, which builds on the ground-breaking work of UNODC’s first Global Study on Homicide in 2011, is particularly timely as the international community is engaged in defining the post-2015 development agenda. As United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has made clear, development progress cannot be achieved or sustained amid violence, insecurity and injustice.

By improving understanding of the underlying patterns and trends related to different forms, settings and risk factors of homicide at the global, regional, national and sub-national levels, this study can be a strategic tool in supporting governments’ efforts to address root causes and enhance criminal justice responses. Alongside intentional homicide related to other criminal activities and socio-political agendas, the study examines homicide related to interpersonal conflict, which includes homicides perpetrated by intimate partners or family members. Unlike other forms of homicide, which vary significantly across regions and from year to year, intimate partner and family-related homicide remains persistent and prevalent.CoverGlobalHomicideReport

While the vast majority of global homicide victims are men, it is overwhelmingly women who die at the hands of their intimate partners or family members. Normative standards for improving criminal justice responses to eliminate violence against women have been agreed by all United Nations Member States; clearly more must be done to improve States’ capacities to effectively prevent, investigate, prosecute and punish all forms of violence against women.

With regard to different settings in which lethal violence occurs, the study indicates that homicide and violence in countries emerging from conflict can become concurrent contributors to instability and insecurity. If we want to build peace, interventions must address not only the conflict itself but also surges in homicide resulting from organized crime and interpersonal violence, which can flourish in settings with weak rule of law. Specific risk factors such as alcohol and drug use and the availability of weapons are also examined in the study in order to improve understanding of how they shape patterns and prevalence of lethal violence. Deeper understanding of these enablers can inform and enhance policies aimed at preventing intentional homicides from happening in the first place.

Deeper understanding of these enablers can inform and enhance policies aimed at preventing intentional homicides from happening in the first place. Ultimately, efforts to prevent unlawful homicide will not be effective unless governments and the international community address those who are most at risk, of both offending or becoming a victim of homicide. More than half of all global homicide victims are under 30 years of age. Much of this violence takes place in urban areas. Effective policies and strategies must not only target at-risk young people but involve them and local communities to work together to break the cycle of violence.

I hope that the data and analysis contained in this study, along with the extensive tools developed by my Office to support States in preventing crime and improving criminal justice systems, can provide a solid basis to meet these challenges.

Yury Fedotov, Executive Director, UNODC