Safety and Security: A Proposal for Internationally Comparable Indicators of Violence

OPHI Working Papers

Violence impedes human freedom to live safely and securely and can sustain poverty traps in many communities. One of the challenges for academic, policy makers, and practitioners working broadly in programmes aimed at poverty alleviation, including violence prevention, is the lack of reliable and comparable data on the incidence and nature of violence. This paper proposes a households survey module for a multidimensional poverty questionnaire which can be used to complement the available data on the incidence of violence against property and the person, as well as perceptions of security and safety. Violence and poverty are inextricably linked, although the direction of causality is contested if not circular. The module uses standardised definitions which are clear and can be translated cross-culturally and a clear disaggregation of different types of interpersonal violence (not including self-harm) which bridges the crime-conflict nexus.

Citation: Diprose, R. (2007). 'Safety and security: A proposal for internationally comparable indicators of violence', OPHI Working Paper 01, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford.

Also published as 'Physical safety and security: A proposal for internationally comparable indicators of violence' in Oxford Development Studies, 2007, Vol. 35(4), pp. 431–458.

Spanish version: 'Las dimensiones faltantes en la medición de la pobreza', (p. 19–33), CAF - Banco de Desarrollo de America Latina (pp. 53–67). CAF - Banco de Desarrollo de America Latina.

poverty, violence, survey methods, freedoms


Rachael Diprose

Series Name
OPHI Working Papers
Publication date
JEL Codes
C8, I3, J12
Publication Number
WP 01