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Global Study on Homicide 2019
by Yury Fedotov
UN Office on Drugs and Crime
At least 464,000 people across the world were killed in homicides in 2017, according to the Global Study on Homicide 2019 published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
"The Global Study on Homicide seeks to shed light on gender-related killings, lethal gang violence and other challenges, to support prevention and interventions to bring down homicide rates," said UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov.
"Countries have committed to targets under the Sustainable Development Goals to reduce all forms of violence and related death rates by 2030. This report offers examples of effective community-based interventions that have helped to bring about improvements in areas afflicted by violence, gangs and organized crime."
The study shows that the overall number of people who suffered a violent death as a result of homicide increased in the past quarter of a century, from 395,542 in 1992 to 464,000 in 2017.
Organized crime alone was responsible for up to 19 per cent of all homicides in 2017. Like armed conflicts, organized crime destabilizes countries, undermines socioeconomic development and erodes the rule of law.
Homicide rates vary widely between and within regions. The 2017 average global homicide rate (6.1) masks dramatic regional variations. The rate in the Americas (17.2) was the highest recorded in the region since reliable records began in 1990. Africa''s rate (13.0) was also above the global average, whereas the rates in Asia, Europe and Oceania were below the global average.
Though homicide rates remain high in the Americas, the picture varies within the region and within individual countries. Within countries in the Americas, high homicide levels are clustered, with some local populations facing homicide rates comparable to death rates in conflict zones and others having a lower risk.
Globally, some 81 per cent of homicide victims recorded in 2017 were men and boys, and more than 90 per cent of suspects in homicide cases were men, according to the most recent estimates.
In all regions, the likelihood of boys becoming victims of homicide increases with age, although this process occurs at different stages. Men and male adolescents aged between 15 and 29 are at the highest risk of homicide globally.
Although women and girls account for a smaller share of victims of homicide in general than men, they continue to bear by far the greatest burden of intimate partner and family-related homicide.
Targeted interventions to counter homicide require a comprehensive understanding of its scale and drivers. The drivers of homicide highlighted in the study include inequality, unemployment, political instability, the prevalence of gender stereotypes in society, and the presence of organized crime.
The study also points to the importance of a governance model centred on the rule of law, control of corruption, and investment in socioeconomic development, including in education, as critical in bringing down the rate of violent crime. Firearms and drugs and alcohol are further facilitators of homicide that need to be addressed, according to the study.
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Women’s police stations reduce violence against women
by Kerry Carrington, Máximo Sozzo
QUT, Universidad Nacional de Litoral, Santa Fe, Argentina
Police stations for women and families in Argentina are a practical and successful response to the United Nations’ sustainable development goal to eliminate violence against women, Professor Kerry Carrington from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) told the UN 63rd Commission on the Status of Women NGO sessions in New York.
Professor Carrington, head of QUT’s School of Justice, addressed the meeting of NGO delegates from around the world on her extensive research on women''''s police stations in Argentina and other research from Brazil and other South American countries.
“Brazil was the first country to open a women’s police station in 1985 and recent research from that country found the female homicide rate had dropped by 50 per cent for women aged 15 to 24 in cities and for all women by 17 per cent in areas where women’s police stations were found,” Professor Carrington said.
“Buenos Aires Province established its first women’s police station in 1988. It now has 131 women’s police stations dealing with 250,000 cases of domestic violence and more than 7000 cases of sexual assault in 2018.
“The proliferation of women’s police stations in Argentina was enabled and supported by the 2009 law Comprehensive protection law to prevent, punish and eradicate violence against women.
“This law was supported by the new offence of femicide – the killing of a female partner, and the setting up of the Department for Gender Policy in the Ministry of Security to implement a national action plan to prevent and eradicate violence against women.
“Today there are thousands of women’s police stations in Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru, Uruguay, Sierra Leone, India, Ghana, Kosovo, Liberia, the Philippines, South Africa and Uganda.”
Professor Carrington interviewed 100 employees from ten women’s police stations which had caseloads of 300 to 700 a month. Of those interviewed, 82 per cent were employed as police, and 18 per cent worked as lawyers, psychologists or social workers.
“Like traditional policing models they offer a 365-day emergency response service, wear police uniforms and weapons and have the same powers and training as general police.
“Unlike the traditional model, women’s police stations’ key differences are: they are embedded in the neighbourhoods they serve – the stations are brightly painted converted houses; they provide childcare and reception rooms tailored for women and children.
They provide women with a gate-way to other services, such as health, welfare, family, housing, legal and counselling support. Women police work in a team with lawyers, social workers and psychologists to assist women who report to them.
They have emergency provisions of clothing and other items for women who seek their assistance. They organise community prevention campaigns around the annual program of festivals and events in cities and towns incuding specific days focused to protest against femicide and violence against women, days to celebrate the achievements of women and rights of the child.
“Their close relationship and visibility in the community sends the message that violence against women will not be tolerated, that it is a crime and perpetrators will be held accountable.
“Women police are insiders in their community, they are of the same gender as the women who report to them, and this sense of connection enhances women’s willingness to confide in them.”
Professor Carrington called on other UN member States to establish the offence of femicide, recognise the women’s police stations’ success in preventing gender violence, and promote the establishment of stand-alone women’s police stations to eliminate violence against women.
* Access the role of women’s police stations in Argentina in responding to and preventing gender violence report via the link below.
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