Chair: Finn Esbensen

Research from the Eurogang Program

Building: G
Room: 12


Author: Melde Chris, Michigan State University

Finn Esbensen, University of Missouri-St. Louis; Mark Berg, University of Iowa
Title: “Nerve” and the Victim-Offender Overlap: an Assessment of the Protective Function of Fearlessness in the Face of Danger
Ethnographic and qualitative research on the ecology of violence has documented a common belief that an individuals’ best means for protecting themselves from future or ongoing violent victimization is to demonstrate a willingness to engage in violence. Research on the victim-offender overlap, however, suggests violent offenders are routinely victimized at high rates given their lifestyle and routine activities. The current study attempts to quantify the key characteristics and behaviors qualitative studies have suggested protect adolescents from victimization, what we label nerve. Using six waves of panel data from the second national evaluation of the Gang Resistance Education and Training Program, we both demonstrate how to measure nerve, as well as test to see if this concept is associated with later violent offending and violent victimization in ways consistent with theory and research on the ecology of youth violence.
Keywords: Youth Violence, Victimization
Author: Roman Caterina, Temple University

Hannah J. Klein, Temple University; Courtney Harding, Temple University
Title: Patterns of Formal and Informal Support After Violent Victimization: Differences Between Gang Member and Non-Gang Member Service and Support Networks in the United States
The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) has consistently found that, in the United States, minorities, males, and persons age 18-24 are the most likely to become victims of violence, yet these individuals are the least likely to seek services and support. There is also growing evidence that regardless of the severity of injury, gang members and other individuals involved in criminal behavior are less likely to seek help from formal systems after victimization, compared to individuals who have never had contact with the justice system. Perceptions of injustice and racial biases influence whether and how individuals seek and obtain support. The current paper describes a new mixed methods study taking place in Philadelphia, PA, USA, that examines networks of support after violent street conflicts. More specifically, the paper will compare and contrast formal and informal networks of support for current and past gang members and those injured but never involved in gangs, and assess how demographic, criminal history, and contextual factors play a role in help seeking behavior. The study findings have implications for improving services and supports for victims of violent crime, and in turn, reducing the trauma that often accompanies victimization.
Keywords: Victimization, help-seeking, youth gangs
Author: Van Damme Ellen, Leuven Institute of Criminology (KU Leuven)

Title: Being So Close and Yet So Far: Researching Gang-Related Women in a Context of Silence
In this presentation I reflect on my experiences of researching gang-related women in Honduras, based on my first in-depth field research (January – June 2018) in the country. My PhD study is centered around one main research question: ‘What is the role and agency of women in and around gangs?’, which I aim to resolve using a qualitative (Informed Grounded Theory) method, conducting observations, interviews and focus groups. The population I focus on are female gang members, girlfriends/wives of gang members, mothers, sisters and other women related to gang members. Studying gangs in a country where nobody trusts nobody and one must think twice about the vocabulary you use in different zones, I often felt very close yet so far from my research population. Due to security reasons, conducting ethnographic field research by myself in the communities with gang activity was out of question. Hence, I collaborated with a few organizations (one governmental, one non-governmental and one UN organization) who facilitated my access to the field via their respective projects in which I could participate. Given the patriarchal culture and the ‘ver, oír y callar’ (‘see, listen and keep quiet’)-mentality, coming close to women was thrice as difficult as coming close to men related to gangs. Notwithstanding women’s voices are silenced, they have an important message to tell, which up until today have been ignored by researchers and policy makers in the region
Keywords: Gangs, Agency, Comparative
Author: Andell Paul, University of Suffolk, Ipswich Campus

Title: County Lines, Gang Culture and Political Economy
The paper identifies some of the factors that reinforce gang identities in amongst the children exploited within this irregular economy and how practitioners might address them. The article discusses the social realities of gang life, how this has been understood by criminologists and how these understanding have sometimes helped and sometimes hindered the development of policy and practice. The article then sets out a strategic approach to effective community safety practice and the development of a multi-modal partnership intervention in gang affected neighbourhoods.
Keywords: Gangs, multi-modal interventions
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