A joint report from the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Programme, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reveals that 475 000 people were murdered in 2012, and homicide is the third leading cause of death globally for males aged 15-44 years. Despite indications that homicide rates decreased by 16% globally between 2000 and 2012, the report states that violence remains widespread. It draws attention to the fact that non-fatal acts of violence take a particular toll on women and children, citing figures that: one in four children has been physically abused; one in five girls has been sexually abused; and one in three women has been a victim of physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence at some point in her lifetime.
Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization said
"We know what works to prevent violence in our homes, schools and workplaces and on our streets and playgrounds. We should take inspiration from governments which have demonstrated success in reducing violence by taking the steps needed. They have shown us that indeed violence is preventable."
Based on systematic reviews the report identifies seven 'best buy' strategies – six focusing on preventing violence and one focusing on response efforts. The strategies are:
- developing safe, stable and nurturing relationships between children and their parents and caregivers;
- developing life skills in children and adolescents;
- reducing the availability and harmful use of alcohol;
- reducing access to guns and knives;
- promoting gender equality to prevent violence against women;
- changing cultural and social norms that support violence;
- victim identification, care and support programmes.
The full report, executive summary and country profiles can be viewed here.