By Small Arms Survey. Armed violence—‘the intentional use of illegitimate force (actual or threatened)
with arms or explosives, against a person, group, community, or state’ (Geneva Declaration Secretariat, 2008, p. 2)—has many harmful consequences, death being the most extreme. The reason why the number of violent deaths is frequently used as a proxy for armed violence is that killings are likely to
be recorded more systematically than other crimes. Indeed, ‘[k]illing is treated seriously in all societies, which renders it more readily amenable to examination and measurement’ (Geneva Declaration Secretariat, 2011, p. 43). This Research Note is largely based on Chapter 2 of the Global Burden of Armed Violence 2011 (GBAV 2011) report, which presents the GBAV 2011 database (Gilgen, 2011). Established by the Small Arms Survey, the database provides an overview of the number of violent
deaths that took place across all settings from 2004 to 2009, revealing that 9 out of 10 violent deaths occur in non-conflict settings. The chapter sheds light on the 58 countries most affected by armed violence between 2004 and 2009 and focuses on trends in countries that exhibit the highest rates of violent deaths per capita.