According to all international comparisons, Latin America is the most violent region in the world, with the highest homicide rates and the greatest incidence of phenomena such as urban violence, kidnapping, vigilantism, and environmental conflicts.

This document provides an overview of the forms, actors, and economic, social, and institutional impacts of violence in Latin America, and identifies particularly vulnerable social groups, such as youth, women, and human rights defenders. The document serves as context for this special issue, which aims to be a reference for scholars in the field. The document concludes with a brief discussion of the likely impact of the Covid-19 crisis on subcontinental violence.