This Briefing Paper analyses trends in global violent deaths based on data updated to 2017, which provides a benchmark for the scenarios for the period 2018–30 that constitute the main focus of the paper. The year 2017 was characterized by a marked increase in lethal violence, primarily due to a rise in homicides (that is, non-conflict deaths). The paper presents three different, but plausible scenarios reflecting possible trends in global violent deaths in the period 2018–30. These are: (1) a 'businessas- usual' scenario, where international efforts to reduce lethal violence continue as at present; (2) a positive scenario, where concerted efforts lead to reductions in global violent death rates; and (3) a negative scenario, where inaction and escalating lethal violence cause a significant increase in global violent death rates. All three scenarios are derived from longer-term trends and underline the need for policy-makers to renew efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Target 16.1.