Help to end

identity-based violence



Photograph, Auschwitz concentration camp, Poland

Barriers to Change


1)IBMV is not seen as a global phenomenon

Identity-based violence (IBV) and Identity-based mass violence (IBMV) are too often viewed as individual catastrophes rather than a global phenomenon that can occur almost anywhere. This leads to issue-specific awareness that draws attention to the plight of a particular victim group or problem region.


2) IBMV is not seen as issue of conscience

IBV and prevention, prediction, protection and Justice approaches (PPPJ) are presented as political issues rather than issues of conscience. In domestic politics worldwide, identity-based hatred is often orchestrated through the exploitation of difference by those in power in order to benefit politically in someway. In foreign policy, incidents of IBV are addressed in parliaments along party-political lines rather than through cross-party consensus. 


3)IBMV is not seen as economic priority

PPPJ policies and mechanisms require considerable investment. Yet it is not widely understood that early PPPJ approaches are economically beneficial, preventing the severe economic and social consequences of IBMV that can cripple nations and regions for decades.

The Problem

Identity-based violence:

Identity-based violence is any act of violence motivated by the perpetrator's conceptualisation of their victim's identity, for example their race, gender, sexuality, religion or political affiliation. It encompasses hate crime, violent extremism, and genocide and affects individuals as well as entire groups or communities all around the world. While its victims and the ways in which it manifests often look different the causes of identity based violence are usually the same. By understanding the common causes of these seemingly disconnected forms of violence we can develop and promote effective, evidenced strategies of prediction, prevention, and protection.

Why we use 'identity-based violence'

We want to show that what are too often seen as unrelated problems are in fact part of the same shared global challenge. This is why we developed the very term identity-based violence. We were the first to do so. Our definition of identity-based violence is as a self-explanatory non-legal, politically neutral term encompassing hate crime, violent extremism, and identity-based atrocities; it highlights the commonality that exists between attacks against individuals and communities, whether by States, militia groups, terrorist organisations, or prejudiced thugs. While we work primarily to improve British contributions to predicting, preventing and responding to identity-based violence, we are proud to have ‘exported’ the concept around the world. We are very proud to see the incresed uptake of the term and growing conceptualisation of a connected challenge.

Our goal will always be strong, resilient, inclusive, caring, and questioning societies but how communities get there will likely differ considerably. Our work is not about changing language but advocating our collective responsibility to protect those at risk of violence because of who they are and providing an evidence base for what works. We work in and with local communities, civil society, academics, and policy makers to enhance their own contributions to prevention and to gather examples of best practice that can be replicated or scaled.