Safety, security and justice

Safety, security and justice are priorities for poor people and are associated with development outcomes. What do we know about what has – or hasn’t – worked in safety, security and justice programming, and where? This new Topic Guide for policymakers and practitioners synthesises the evidence, challenges and approaches that emerge from the literature.

About this Topic Guide

GSDRC Topic Guides aim to provide a clear, concise and objective report on findings from rigorous research on critical areas of development policy. Rather than provide policy guidance or recommendations, their purpose is to signpost policymakers and practitioners to the key debates and evidence on the topic of focus, to support informed decision-making. They are primarily designed to meet the needs of DFID governance, social development, humanitarian, and conflict advisers and address donor approaches and programming. However, they are also intended to be broadly useful to other bilateral agencies, multilateral agencies, partner country governments, consultants, and NGOs.

The thematic coverage in this topic guide is not exhaustive. It is designed to complement the existing GSDRC Topic Guide on Justice. To avoid duplication, a number of thematic issues are not covered in detail here, such as broader criminal-justice issues (including crime and policing and victim support), and access to justice and legal empowerment. Links are provided to further coverage of these issues in the topic guide on justice.

This GSDRC Topic Guide was written by Shivit Bakrania (GSDRC, University of Birmingham) and published in March 2014. The production of this Guide was supported by the UK Government. We welcome your feedback at

GSDRC appreciates the contributions of Ecoma Alaga (Independent Consultant); Karen Barnes Robinson (BRIDGE); Professor Paul Jackson (University of Birmingham), and Eric Scheye (Independent Consultant).

Suggested citation

Bakrania, S., (2014). Safety, security and justice: Topic guide. Birmingham, UK: GSDRC, University of Birmingham