Children's homicide and road deaths in England & Wales and the USA: An international comparison 1974-1997

Authors: Pritchard, C.

Journal: British Journal of Social Work

Volume: 32

Pages: 495-502

ISSN: 0045-3102

DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/32.4.495


Child murder often leads to demands for new legislation. To determine relative risks and the need for such change, children's (0–14) homicide and road deaths were compared internationally. All data were extrapolated from WHO standardized mortality statistics and ratios of change were calculated. Five-year summed actual numbers and rates for 1974–78 and 1993–97 were used for comparison. The findings indicate that children's road deaths fell substantially everywhere across the two periods; England and Wales had the lowest rate, and the fifth biggest reduction. In addition, in every country, the figures for children's homicide were substantially lower than road deaths. England and Wales had been fourth highest but by the later period were the third lowest. While children's homicide rose substantially in France and the USA, the biggest reductions were found in Japan and in England and Wales. For every country considered, road deaths fell proportionately more than deaths by homicide, although the latter remained considerably lower than road deaths. The statistics led to the clear interpretation that the average child is substantially more at risk of being killed on the road than being murdered.

Source: Manual