Statistics of Violence and Peacebuilding
in the US and Worldwide
The Peace Alliance has done extensive research to identify the most current definitions of terms used to describe violence in our global society. You will notice the use of language in this research, such as “Far-Right” terrorism, “Islamic Deviant” and “Black Supremacist”, that are either new to you, or you have heard them used in current political conversations to identify specific partisan groups.
That is not how they are used here.
We use the terms utilized by researchers who gather these data, and provide definitions within our information, to be as clear as current terminology allows.
Each of these sections are but a snapshot of the data. Click Learn More under each header to download a PDF with full statistics and definitions.
DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM
In the last five years, far-right terrorism has been on the rise. While other forms of terrorism remain predominant internationally, on the domestic level the surge of far-right political violence represents a worrying trend. Political instability as well as the polarisation of society produced a fertile ground for domestic terrorism in the West. Nevertheless, 96% of deaths from terrorism in 2019 occurred in countries at war, highlighting the strong connection between terrorism and ongoing conflict.
- In 2019, there were 53 terrorist attacks recorded in the U. S., resulting in 39 deaths from terrorism. Of those 39 deaths, 34 were attributed to far-right extremists, reflecting the growing prominence of politically motivated terrorism in the US, and far-right terrorism in particular. By contrast, religiously motivated terrorism continued to fall, with four deaths attributed to Islamic extremists in 2019.1
- In the first-half of 2020, far-right terrorists committed 67% of domestic terrorist attacks, far-left terrorists committed 20%, and extremists with other motivations (such as supporters of the Boogaloo movement) and islamic deviants each committed 7%.2
- Terrorism in the West makes up a small fraction of total terrorism in the world. Between 2002 and 2019 there were 236,422 deaths from terrorism globally. Of these, 1,215 occurred in the West, or just 0.51 per cent of the total.3
INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE (IPV)
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) refers to violence perpetrated by a former or current partner or spouse.4 IPV represents a severe public health issue that affects millions of individuals, worldwide as well as in the U. S. IPV can have multiple, serious consequences for its victims, ranging from economic complications as well as physical conditions. It is therefore crucial to prevent it. IPV encompasses acts of stalking, psychological aggression, physical violence or sexual violence—behaviors and tactics through which an intimate partner seeks to establish and maintain power over another.5
- Data from U.S. crime reports suggest that about 1 in 5 homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner. The reports also found that over half of female homicide victims in the U.S. are killed by a current or former male intimate partner.6
- Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime in the U. S.7
Estimates published by the World Health organization indicate that globally about 1 in 3 (30%) of women worldwide have been subjected to either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.8
Gun Violence represents a challenge to everyday life in the United States. Between 2008 and 2017, 342,439 people were killed by a gunshot, meaning that 1 person was shot dead every 15 minutes across the U. S.9 Gun violence represents a multifaceted problem requiring a nuanced approach focusing on prevention. Prevention based on research on the development of risks can largely reduce the probability that firearms will be introduced into community and family conflicts or criminal activity.10
- Americans account for less than five percent of the global population, but own nearly half (46%) of all civilian guns in the world.11
- Since 1963, nearly 193,000 children and teens have been killed with guns on American soil—more than four times the number of U.S. soldiers killed in action in the Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq wars combined.12
- In 2021, Deaths from gun violence increased by 23% compared to 2020.13
As the web is becoming a space where marginalized people can make their voices heard, new challenges for the safety of its users are constantly arising. For women, online violence can manifest in many different ways – harassment, doxing, toxicity, bullying, revenge porn, misinformation and defamation.14 Since the introduction of social media platforms, online violence against women has been on the rise. Online forms of violence often are correlated to offline forms of violence and should, as such, be viewed in continuity with one another.15 Moreover, online violence is not limited in time or space.16
- About four-in-ten Americans (41%) have experienced some form of online harassment.17
- Research showed that adolescents who reported cyberbullying were 11.5 times more likely to have suicidal ideation, compared to 8.4 times of those who reported verbal bullying.18
- A survey conducted by MDPI found that of the total number of women who have been victims of online violence, 61.64% have experienced online violence once, while 12.33% have experienced online violence more than once. On the other hand, these percentages are much lower for the male population: only 6.17% of male respondents stated that they were victims of online violence once, and the same percentage experienced it more than once.19
IMPACT OF PEACEBUILDING
ON THE COST OF VIOLENCE
Peacebuilding is a practice aiming at reducing both direct and structural violence through inclusive activities. Although inter-state conflicts are declining in number, countries are experiencing growing societal polarization.20 It is therefore crucial to develop effective peacebuilding strategies and implement programs aimed at reducing conflict among both states and communities.
- Preventative action is more cost-effective than actions taken to end conflicts that have already broken out. Studies indicate that preventing violence could have an average net savings of up to $70 billion per year.21
- Every $1 invested in peacebuilding carries a potential $16 reduction in the cost of armed conflict.22
- While the global economic losses from conflict in 2016 reached a staggering $1.04 trillion, just $21.8 billion was spent on peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities combined during that year. This means that the financial resources devoted to avert violence and consolidate peace constituted a mere 2% of the total cost of conflict.23
1 Institute for Economics and Peace, Global Terrorism Index 2020.
2 Jones, S. G., Doxsee, Harrington, N., C., Hwang, G. and Suber, J. “The War Comes Home. The Evolution of Domestic Terrorism in the United States”. CSIS Briefs, October 22 2020. Accessed at: https://www.csis.org/analysis/war-comes-home-evolution-domestic-terrorism-united-states
3 Institute for Economics and Peace, Global Terrorism Index 2020.
5 Breiding MJ et al., Intimate Partner Violence Surveillance: Uniform Definitions and Recommended Data Elements, Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC, 2015, http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/intimatepartnerviolence.pdf.
8 World Health Organization, Key Facts on Violence Against Women. Accessed at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/violence-against-women#:~:text=Estimates%20published%20by%20WHO%20indicate,violence%20is%20intimate%20partner%20violence.
11 Karp, Aaron. 2018. “Estimating Global Civilian-Held Firearms Numbers,” p. 4. Small Arms Survey, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/T-Briefing-Papers/SAS-BP-Civilian-Firearms-Numbers.pdf
12 CDC. 2015. “Vital Statistics in the United States,” 1963-1967. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/vsus.htm; CDC. 2019. “Underlying Cause of Death,” Compressed Mortality File, Mortality for 1968-1978 and Mortality for 1979-1998. https://wonder.cdc.gov/mortsql.html; CDC. 2020. “Underlying Cause of Death, 1999-2019,” Detailed Mortality Tables. Accessed using CDC WONDER Online Database. https://wonder.cdc.gov/ucd-icd10.html; U.S. Department of Defense. 2021. “Conflict Casualties.” Accessed using Defense Casualty Analysis System. https://dcas.dmdc.osd.mil/dcas/pages/casualties.xhtm
13 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2019 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released in 2020. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2019, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed at http://wonder.cdc.gov/ucd-icd10.html
16 Dalla Pozza, V.; Di Pietro, A.; Morel, S.; Psaila, E. Cyberbullying Among Young People; Directorate General for Internal Policies, Policy Department, Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs: Brussels, Belgium, 2016.
18 Alavi, Nazanin; Reshetukha, Taras; Prost, Eric; Antoniak, Kristen; Patel, Charmy; Sajid, Saad; Groll, Dianne (2017). “Relationship between Bullying and Suicidal Behaviour in Youth presenting to the Emergency Department”. Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 26 (2): 70–77.