Security and development: Shifting the focus to interpersonal violence


  • Anke Hoeffler Department of Economics, University of Oxford



Security, development, interpersonal violence


The focus in the security and development debate is on collective violence and the World Bank’s World Development Report  2017 is typical by mainly considering the effects of organized armed conflict. In this article I argue that interpersonal violence affects many more people globally and should receive more attention as well as aid. The adverse consequences from interpersonal violence on socioeconomic development are likely to be large but much of this violence is hidden in plain sight. Women and children are at particularly high risk of being victims of violence but since most of this violence is perpetrated in the domestic sphere it is less likely to affect the collective conscience.


Akmatov M. 2011. “Child Abuse in 28 Developing and Transitional Countries: Results from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys.” International Journal of Epidemiology. Vol. 40, pp. 219–227.

Andersson, C. and K. Lazemian. 2017. “Reliability and Validity of Cross-National Homicide Data: A Comparison of UN and WHO Data.” International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice. Pp. 1–16. (Published online 11 September 2017.]

Bandura, A. 1977. Social Learning Theory. Oxford, UK: Prentice-Hall.

Barlow, J., I. Johnston, D. Kendrick, L. Polnay, and S. Stewart-Brown. 2006. “Individual and Group-Based Parenting Programmes for the Treatment of Physical Child Abuse and Neglect.” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Issue 3. Art. No. CD005463.

Baumer, E.P. and K.T. Wolff. 2014. “The Breadth and Causes of Contemporary Cross-National Homicide Trends.” Crime and Justice. Vol. 43, pp. 231–287.

Chioda, L. 2017. “Stop the Violence in Latin America: A Look at Prevention from Cradle to Adulthood.” Latin American Development Forum. Washington, D.C.: World Bank.

Collier, P., L. Elliot. H. Hegre, A. Hoeffler, M. Reynal Querol, and N. Sambanis. 2003. Breaking the Conflict Trap: Civil War and Development Policy. Washington, D.C.: World Bank.

Cools, S. and A. Kotsadam. 2017. “Resources and Intimate Partner Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa.” World Development. Vol. 95, pp. 211–230.

Coyl, D.D., L.A. Roggman, and L.A. Newland. 2002. “Stress, Maternal Depression, and Negative Mother–Infant Interactions in Relation to Infant Attachment.” Infant Mental Health Journal. Vol. 23, Nos. 1–2, pp. 145–163.

Danese, A. and J.R. Baldwin. 2017. “Hidden Wounds? Inflammatory Links Between Childhood Trauma and Psychopathology.” Annual Review of Psychology. Vol. 68, pp. 517–544.

Devries, K.M., J.Y. Mak, C. García-Moreno, M. Petzold, J.C. Child, G. Falder, S. Lim, L.J. Bacchus, R.E. Engell, L. Rosenfeld, and C. Pallitto. 2013. “The Global Prevalence of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women.” Science. Vol. 340, No. 6140, pp. 1527–1528.

Eisner, M. 2015. “How to Reduce Homicide by 50% in the Next 30 Years.” Homicide Dispatch 1. Rio de Janeiro: IGARAPÉ Institute.

Fearon, J. and A. Hoeffler. 2014. “Benefits and Costs of the Conflict and Violence Targets for the Post-2015 Development Agenda.” Copenhagen: Copenhagen Consensus Center.

Foshee, V.A., K.E. Bauman, S.T. Ennett, G.F. Linder, T. Benefield, and C. Suchindran. 2004. “Assessing the Long-Term Effects of the Safe Dates Program and a Booster in Preventing and Reducing Adolescent Dating Violence Victimization and Perpetration.” American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 94, No. 4, pp. 619–624.

Freeman, M. and B.J. Saunders. 2014. “Can we Conquer Child Abuse if we Don’t Outlaw Physical Chastisement of Children?” The International Journal of Children’s Rights. Vol. 22, No. 4, pp. 681–709.

Gage, A.J., J.G. Honoré, and J. Deleon. 2016. “Short-Term Effects of a Violence-Prevention Curriculum on Knowledge of Dating Violence Among High School Students in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.” Journal of Communication in Healthcare. Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 178–189.

Gage, A., A. Hoeffler, and J.G. Honoré. 2017. “Domestic Violence in Haiti.” Copenhagen: Copenhagen Consensus Center. Mimeo.

Gash, T. 2016. Criminal: The Truth About Why People do Bad Things. London: Penguin.

Geneva Declaration Secretariat. 2015. Global Burden of Armed Violence 2015: Every Body Counts. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Gilbert, R., C.S. Widom, K. Browne, D. Fergusson, E. Webb, and S. Janson. 2009. “Burden and Consequences of Child Maltreatment in High-Income Countries.” The Lancet. Vol. 373, No. 9657, pp. 68–81.

Guerrero, G. and V. Rojas. 2016. “Understanding Children’s Experiences of Violence in Peru: Evidence from Young Lives.” Innocenti Working Paper 2016-17. UNICEF Office of Research. Florence, Italy: UNICEF.

Guisto, A., E. Friis, A. Sim, R. Chase, J. Zayzay, E. Green, and E. Puffer. 2017. “A Qualitative Study of Mechanisms Underlying Effects of a Parenting Intervention in Rural Liberia.” European Journal of Development Research. Vol. 29, No. 5, pp. 964–982.

Heinle, K., C. Molzahn, and D.A. Shirk. 2017. “Drug Violence in Mexico.” Justice in Mexico. Department of Political Science and International Relations. San Diego: University of San Diego.

Hoeffler, A., 2017a. “What are the Costs of Violence?” Politics, Philosophy & Economics. Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 422–445.

Hoeffler, A. 2017b. “Violence against Children: A Critical Issue for Development.” European Journal of Development Research. Vol. 29, No. 5, pp. 945–963.

Jenks, C. 2005. Childhood. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge.

Kanis, S., S.F. Messner, M.P. Eisner, and W. Heitmeyer. 2017. “A Cautionary Note About the Use of Estimated Homicide Data for Cross-National Research.” Homicide Studies. Vol. 21, No. 4, pp. 312–324.

Knerr, W., F. Gardner, and L. Cluver. 2013. “Improving Positive Parenting Skills and Reducing Harsh and Abusive Parenting in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review.” Prevention Science. Vol. 14, No. 4, pp. 352–363.

Know Violence in Childhood. 2017. Ending Violence in Childhood. Global Report 2017. New Delhi: Know Violence in Childhood.

Lundgren, R. and A. Amin. 2015. “Addressing Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Violence Among Adolescents: Emerging Evidence of Effectiveness.” Journal of Adolescent Health. Vol. 56, No. 1, pp. S42–S50.

Marcus, R. 2014. “Child Protection Violations and Poverty in Low- and Middle-Income Countries.” Background Note. London: Overseas Development Institute. [accessed 21 August 2017].

Mc Evoy, C. and G. Hideg. 2017. “Global Violent Deaths 2017: Time to Decide.” Small Arms Survey. Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. Geneva: Small Arms Survey.

Morrow, V. and R. Singh. 2016. “Understanding Children’s Experiences of Violence in Andhra Pradesh and Telegana, India: Evidence from Young Lives.” Innocenti Working Paper 2016-19. UNICEF Office of Research. Florence, Italy: UNICEF.

Muggah, R. 2015. “Counting Conflict Deaths: Options for SDG 16.1.” Briefing Note to Members of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators.” Rio de Janeiro: IGARAPÉ Institute.

Muggah, R. and I.S. de Carvalho. 2016. “The End of Homicide: How to Halve Global Murders in a Decade.” Foreign Affairs. 7 September 2016.

Nemeroff, C.B. 2004. “Neurobiological Consequences of Childhood Trauma.” The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Vol. 65, pp. 18–28.

Nemeroff, C.B. 2016. “Paradise Lost: The Neurobiological and Clinical Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect.” Neuron. Vol. 89, No. 5, pp. 892–909.

Norman, R.E., M. Byambaa, R. De, A. Butchart, J. Scott, and T. Vos. 2012. “The Long-Term Health Consequences of Child Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, and Neglect: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” PLoS Med. Vol. 9, No. 11, p. e1001349.

Palmer, E.J. and C.R. Hollin. 2001. “Sociomoral Reasoning, Perceptions of Parenting and Self-Reported Delinquency in Adolescents.” Applied Cognitive Psychology. Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 85–100.;2-6

Pankhurst, A., N. Negussie, and E. Mulugeta. 2016. “Understanding Children’s Experiences of Violence in Ethiopia: Evidence from Young Lives.” Innocenti Working Paper 2016-25. UNICEF Office of Research. Florence, Italy: UNICEF.

Pereznieto, P., A. Montes, S. Routier, and L Langston. 2014. “The Costs and Economic Impact of Violence Against Children. Research Reports and Studies.” London: Overseas Development Institute.

Peskin, M.F., C.M. Markham, R. Shegog, E.R. Baumler, R.C. Addy, and S.R. Tortolero. 2014. “Effects of the It’s Your Game ... Keep It Real Program on Dating Violence in Ethnic-Minority Middle School Youths: A Group Randomized Trial.” American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 104, No. 8, pp. 1471–1477.

Platteau, J.P. and Z. Wahhaj. 2014. “Strategic Interactions Between Modern Law and Custom,” pp. 633–678 in V. Ginsburgh and D. Throsby, eds. Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture. Vol. 2. Amsterdam: Elsevier and North-Holland.

Pinheiro, P.S. 2006. World Report on Violence Against Children. New York: United Nations.

Pinker, S. 2011. The Better Angels of our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and its Causes. London: Penguin.

Piquero, A.R., W.G. Jennings, B. Diamond, D.P. Farrington, R.E. Tremblay, B.C. Welsh, and J.M.R. Gonzalez. 2016. “A Meta-Analysis Update on the Effects of Early Family/Parent Training Programs on Antisocial Behavior and Delinquency.” Journal of Experimental Criminology. Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 229–248.

Prinz, R.J., M.R. Sanders, C.J. Shapiro, D.J. Whitaker, and J.R. Lutzker. 2009. “Population-Based Prevention of Child Maltreatment: The US Triple P System Population Trial.” Prevention Science. Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 1–12.

Qvortrup, J., W.A. Corsaro, M. Honig, and G. Valentine. 2009. The Palgrave Handbook of Childhood Studies. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Renteln, A.D. 2013. International Human Rights: Universalism versus Relativism. New Orleans, LA: Quid Pro Books.

Sara, G. and J. Lappin. 2017. “Childhood Trauma: Psychiatry’s Greatest Public Health Challenge?” The Lancet Public Health. Vol. 2, pp. 300–301.

Scheidell, J.D., K. Quinn, S.P. McGorray, B.C. Frueh, N.N. Beharie, L.B. Cottler, and M.R. Khan. 2017. “Childhood Traumatic Experiences and the Association with Marijuana and Cocaine Use in Adolescence through Adulthood.” Addiction. Forthcoming.

Scheper-Hughes, N. and C.F. Sargent. eds. 1998. Small Wars: The Cultural Politics of Childhood. Berkeley, CA: The University of California Press.

Shiva Kumar, A.K., V. Stern, R. Subrahmanian, L. Sherr, P. Burton, N. Guerra, R. Muggah, M. Samms-Vaughan, C. Watts, and S.K. Mehta. 2017. “Ending Violence in Childhood: A Global Imperative.” Psychology, Health and Medicine. Vol. 22, S1, pp. 1–16.

Sinclair, J., L. Sinclair, E. Otieno, M. Mulinge, C. Kapphahn, N.H. Golden. 2013. “A Self-Defense Program Reduces the Incidence of Sexual Assault in Kenyan Adolescent Girls.” Journal of Adolescent Health. Vol. 53, No. 3, pp. 374–380.

Siu, G., D. Wight, C. Namutebi, R. Sekiwunga, F. Zalwango, S. Kasule, and J. Seeley. 2017. “Men’s Involvement in a Parenting Programme for Reduction of Gender-Based Violence and Child Maltreatment: Formative Evaluation in Uganda.” European Journal of Development Research. Vol. 29, No., 5, pp. 1017–1037.

Stöckl, H., K. Devries, A. Rotstein, N. Abrahams, J. Campbell, C. Watts, and C.G. Moreno. 2013. “The Global Prevalence of Intimate Partner Homicide: A Systematic Review.” The Lancet. Vol. 382, No. 9895, pp. 859–865.

Straus, M.A., E.M. Douglas, and R.A. Medeiros. 2014. The Primordial Violence: Spanking Children, Psychological Development, Violence, and Crime. London: Routledge.

Straus, M.A., S.L. Hamby, D. Finkelhor, D.W. Moore, and D. Runyan. 1998. “Identification of Child Maltreatment with the Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scales: Development and Psychometric Data for a National Sample of American Parents.” Child Abuse & Neglect. Vol. 22, No. 4, pp. 249–270.

Straus, M.A., D.B. Sugarman, and J. Giles-Sims. 1997. “Spanking by Parents and Subsequent Antisocial Behavior of Children.” Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Vol. 151, No. 8, pp. 761–767.

Taylor, B.G., N.D. Stein, E.A. Mumford, and D. Woods. 2013. “Shifting Boundaries: An Experimental Evaluation of a Dating Violence Prevention Program in Middle Schools.” Prevention Science. Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 64–76.

[UN] United Nations. 2015. The World’s Women 2015: Trends and Statistics. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistics Division. New York: United Nations.

[UNICEF] United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund. 2010. Child Disciplinary Practices at Home: Evidence from a Range of Low- and Middle- Income Countries. New York: UNICEF.

[UNICEF] United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund. 2013. Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Statistical Overview and Exploration of the Dynamics of Change. New York: UNICEF.

[UNICEF] United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund. 2014. Hidden in Plain Sight: A Statistical Analysis of Violence Against Children. New York: UNICEF.

[UNODC] United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 2013. Global Study on Homidice 2013, Trends Contexts, Data. Vienaa: UNODC.

Van Esch, E. and M. de Haan. 2017. “Evaluating Programs Across Cultural Contexts: A Perspective on the Deficit Narrative.” European Journal of Development Research. Vol. 29, No. 5, pp. 983–998.

Vu, Thi Thanh Huong. 2016. “Understanding Children’s Experiences of Violence in Viet Nam: Evidence from Young Lives.” Innocenti Working Paper 2016-26. UNICEF Office of Research. Florence, Italy: UNICEF.

Webb, R.T., S. Antonsen, M.J. Carr, L. Appleby, C.B. Pedersen, and P.L. Mok. 2017. “Self-Harm and Violent Criminality Among Young People who Experienced Trauma-Related Hospital Admission During Childhood: A Danish National Cohort Study.” The Lancet Public Health. Vol. 2, No. 7, pp. e314–e322.

Whipple, E.E. and C.A. Richey. 1997. “Crossing the Line from Physical Discipline to Child Abuse: How Much is Too Much?” Child Abuse & Neglect. Vol. 21, No. 5, pp. 431–444.

[WHO] World Health Organization. 2010. Violence Prevention: The Evidence. Geneva: World Health Organization.

[WHO] World Health Organization. 2013. Global and Regional Estimates of Violence Against Women: Prevalence and Health Effects of Intimate Partner Violence and Non-Partner Violence. Geneva: World Health Organization.

Wolfe, D.A., C. Crooks, P. Jaffe, D. Chiodo, R. Hughes, W. Ellis, L. Stitt, and A. Donner. 2009. “A School-Based Program to Prevent Adolescent Dating Violence: A Cluster Randomized Trial.” Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Vol. 163, No. 8, pp. 692–699.

World Bank. 2011. World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security, and Development. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank.

World Bank. 2014. Voice and Agency: Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank.

World Bank. 2017. World Development Report 2017: Governance and the Law. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank.




How to Cite

Hoeffler, A. (2018). Security and development: Shifting the focus to interpersonal violence. The Economics of Peace and Security Journal, 13(1).




Similar Articles

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.