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Home can be the most dangerous place—UN study

Published: 
Monday, April 14, 2014

Home can be a dangerous place for a woman, and even children, says Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). He made the comment at the recent launch in London of the UNODC’s 2013 Global Study on Homicide. Lemahieu said, globally, men comprised 80 per cent of homicide victims and 95 per cent of perpetrators. 

 

 

He said almost 15 per cent of all homicides (63,600) stemmed from domestic violence and more than two thirds of the victims (43,600) were women. “Home can be the most dangerous place for a woman. It is particularly heart-breaking when those who should be protecting their loved ones are the very people responsible for their murder.” The UNODC also reported that half of all homicide victims were under 30 years of age. Children under the age of 15 accounted for just over 8 per cent (36,000) of all homicides.

 

While men are mostly killed by someone they may not know, almost half of all female victims are killed by those closest to them, such as their intimate partners/family members, in domestic violence situations. The highest murder rates were recorded in the Americas and Africa and the lowest in Europe, Asia and Oceania. The consumption of alcohol and/or illicit drugs increased the risk of perpetrating homicide and, in some countries, over half of homicide offenders acted under its influence, the report said.

 

 The use of cocaine and amphetamine-type stimulants have also been associated with violent behaviour and homicide. Firearms were found to be the most widely used murder weapons, causing 4 in 10 homicides globally. A quarter of victims were killed with blades and sharp objects and just over a third died through other means like strangulation and poisoning. “Too many lives are being tragically cut short, too many families and communities left shattered. 

 

“There is an urgent need to understand how violent crime is plaguing countries around the world, particularly affecting young men but also taking a heavy toll on women,” Lemahieu said.