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Recent Publications

  • Peace without Security: Violence against Women and Girls in Liberia, September 2012. Liberia Armed Violence Assessment Issue Brief No. 3.

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  • Reading between the Lines: Crime and Victimization in Liberia, September 2011. Liberia Armed Violence Assessment Issue Brief No. 2.

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  • A Legacy of War? Perceptions of Security in Liberia, September 2011. Liberia Armed Violence Assessment Issue Brief No. 1.

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Liberia Armed Violence Assessment

Eight years after the end of the civil war in 2003, Liberia witnessed large improvements in security. People in Liberia generally feel much safer than in previous years. Despite the improvements in security, certain violent scenarios continue to preoccupy Liberians. There remains widespread concern about violence against women, and economic and crime-related violence persist. While, during the war, violence was collective and politically motivated in nature, incidents of crime and violence today are largely committed for economic gain.

In Monrovia levels of crime and violence are significantly higher than in the counties, and armed robberies remain a major concern. A number of social factors—including rapid and uncontrolled urbanization, social inequality, the availability of weapons, and the quality of law enforcement and the administration of justice—generally increase the risk of crime and violence in post-conflict countries. Many of these risk factors are present throughout Liberia but are amplified in the capital.

In collaboration with the Liberian Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS), and Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), the Small Arms Survey administered a household survey in all 15 counties in 2010 to assess these issues of crime and violence in post-conflict Liberia. The survey considered respondent perceptions of security and victimization, their exposure to violence, and their behavioural response to threats in communities. It also considered how Liberians perceived the capacity of state institutions to respond to these risks and the types of activities undertaken by civilians to improve their own safety and wellbeing.

The objective of the Liberia Armed Violence Assessment was to provide valid and reliable policy options for the Liberian government, civil society and their partners in identifying appropriate priorities and practical strategies.

Following on from this Assessment, the Liberia Armed Violence Observatory (LAVO) was established in early 2011 and has developed to offer an independent institutional function, regularly gathering, analysing, and reporting on armed violence across Liberia and allowing for the assessment of trends over time. LAVO works collaboratively with government, non-governmental organizations, academic and media actors, and international organizations. By triangulating different individual data sources and pooling data the LAVO can identify gaps and duplications in data collection.  The Liberian Ministry of Health, the United Nations Police and the Liberian National Police are the key data providers.

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