Most institutions interviewed by Action On Armed Violence use data to inform political debates and to evaluate policies. Around 40% of them use data to improve military strategies and to support victims' rights. However, the data can also help reduce armed violence, assess the economic impact, inform legal procedures and facilitate international cooperation.
Prevent and Reduce Armed Violence
Casualty recording improves armed violence prevention and reduction. Data can be used to highlight specific homicide patterns. These then facilitate the design of adequate responses tailored specifically to the identified issues.
Evaluate the economic impact
In several cases casualty data has been used to evaluate direct and indirect economic costs of violence. In 2004, for example, the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development showed that armed violence had cost the 90 most-affected countries in the world more than 95 billion USD.
Inform legal procedures
Data to inform legal procedures requires a high degree of reliability and long investigations. Recording systems therefore should be clear from the start on the purpose of the data they are collecting in order to balance accuracy and verification with the urgency of making the information available.
Facilitate international cooperation
If high numbers of casualties are recorded and brought to the attention of the public, the United Nations Security Council might seek a resolution to prevent further abuses. Data on casualties can also be used as evidence to seek international financial and technical support to address specific challenges.
COUNTING THE COST: CASUALTY RECORDING PRACTICES AND REALITIES, p. 8