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Homicide Research Programme

The most recent (2012) United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) global homicide report calculated that South Africa had the ninth highest recorded homicide rate in the world, with 31 homicides per 100,000 people. The global average homicide rate stands at 6.2 per 100,000, and hence the South African homicide rate was 6 times the global average. The top eight were almost entirely located in Central America and the northern parts of South America and in the Caribbean.

However, South Africa, with 16,259 homicides for 2012, was ranked as having the fourth highest number of total homicides in countries where there was available national police or health, behind Brazil, India and Mexico. In that year the UNODC estimated that there were 437,000 homicides globally, which meant that close to 4% of all homicides in 2012 took place in South Africa.

The aim of the Homicide Research Programme will be to develop a more comprehensive understanding of homicide in South Africa (and possibly other low to middle income countries), based on interdisciplinary research, that will be used to inform debates and discourse on homicide, as well as policy and legislative interventions to reduce such lethal violence.

Homicide will be the central focus of this programme, but one cannot understand the nature, dynamics and trends in relation to homicide without taking violence prevention processes and approaches into account. A key consideration will be to view violence along spectrum, with homicide being at the one extreme.