Armed Violence and Society – Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence (June 1st-8th 2022)

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As we recognise the Global Week of Action against Gun Violence, Sarah Watson – Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Newman University reflects on Armed Violence and Society:

Firearms-related violence has an impact both directly and indirectly on society and development. The cost of armed violence is significant, both inside and outside of conflict. Whilst the physical impact is considerable, the cost extends beyond the physical harm and loss of life, causing forced displacement, eroding social capital and destroying infrastructure. Globally, armed violence aggravates poverty and diverts energy. There are different ways men and women participate in armed violence, but they are also affected differently by the direct and indirect consequences of armed violence.

Women frequently find themselves victims of other types of armed violence, such as domestic violence, the very presence of a firearm increases the risk for women significantly. Young people are also often simultaneously involved in armed violence, as perpetrators, victims and witnesses, with boys and young males at risk of homicide and conflict related death, whilst girls are more likely to become victims of sexual violence. Many factors can push or pull a youth into violence, individual relationship, community and societal. However, protective factors such as strong and healthy relationships and community structures can assist in the fight to eradicate armed violence in relation to youth.

Firearms violence causes fear in communities and the recent Plymouth shooting saw renewed interest in firearms control, and concern regarding the wider issues posed by the shootings. The perpetrator was linked with online terrorist propaganda and had published hate speech against women on social media. This prompted widespread debates about misogynistic views and the incel movement. Although attention soon turned to how another mass shooting incident had been perpetrated with legally owned firearms.  There were also concerns related to the perpetrator’s mental health and a history of violence that had led to his licence and shotgun being taken away. Although they were returned shortly before the shooting after he completed a mandatory anger management course.

Criminology students will be discussing these issues as part of our critical criminological curriculum. The media portrayal of incidents is addressed in CRU401 Seeing Crime and Justice. CRU408 Policing and Social Control considers how incidents involving firearms are responded to by the police. Questions around why young people commit crime are explored in CRU609 Young People and Crime.

Please visit the BA (Hons) Criminology course page to find out more about this degree.
Sarah Watson – Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Newman University

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