Gabrielle Ferrales and Suzy Maves McElrath
Gender-based violence is one of the oldest sustaining features of war but has received significant scholarly attention only in the past two decades. Much of this work, however, focuses selectively on sexual violence, specifically rape by men against women. Mirroring the focus of recent social science research, this essay reviews the treatment of gender-based violence during recent and ongoing conflicts, identifying three theoretical paradigms that offer explanations for this violence based on gender inequality theory, social control theory, and strategies of warfare. The essay recommends that future researchers employ a more expansive conception of gender-based violence, deconstruct the dichotomous understanding of victim and perpetrator, and afford greater attention to the role of intersectionality in explaining gender-based violence during war. Such a reconceptualization will advance our understanding of the multitude forms gender-based violence assumes during armed conflict and facilitate more adequate theoretical explanations for the phenomenon.
Sara K. Thompson
Most criminological theory and research on the black homicide victimization is grounded in the American context, which raises important generalizability issues given the exceptional level of lethal violence that is used as the standard in this inquiry. This case study examines the social and spatial distribution of black homicide victimization in Toronto, Ontario, Canada between 1988 and 2003. Results suggest that, as in American cities, blacks in Toronto are over-represented as homicide victims and offenders, but there are important differences in the spatial distribution and ecological correlates of this violence. These findings highlight the importance of cross-national research when investigating the generalizability of findings from U.S.-based research on racially disaggregated homicide rates.
Kathleen Malley-Morrison and Denise A. Hines
This article summarizes current knowledge concerning child abuse in the United States. It discusses major approaches to assess the incidence and prevalence of child abuse, including the national family violence surveys (NFVS), national incidence studies (NIS), and national child abuse and neglect data system (NCANDS) surveys. It mentions the estimates of abuse rates provided by the different data sources, apparent changes in prevalence rates over time, and possible explanations of these changes. This article considers ethnic differences in rates of child abuse and data relating to these differences. It provides an overview of competing definitions of child abuse and the major theories for its occurrence. It concludes with the description of the criminal justice system's response to the problem and implications of research for public policy.
Richard Wright and Volkan Topalli
People who commit burglary, robbery, carjacking, and other serious predatory street crimes are disproportionately young, poor, and male. Notwithstanding the strong link between these demographic characteristics and street crime, not all young, poor, males commit street crimes and not all street criminals are young, poor, or male. No one can tell based on demographic information on criminals why an individual who has no intention of committing a crime one minute suddenly is determined to do so the next. This article describes the socio-emotional context underlying street criminals' decision to move from an unmotivated state to a motivated one. It also examines why someone chooses to commit a particular type of street crime over other possible licit or illicit courses of action. The article concludes by assessing the implications of its findings for criminological theory and criminal justice policy.
Scott H. Decker and David Pyrooz
Until the middle of the twentieth century, research on gangs was ethnographic in nature, with a strong journalistic approach. However, there has been a shift in the ethnographic study of gangs from serious fieldwork in America to the European setting. This article focuses on the state of contemporary gang ethnography by analyzing three periods of ethnographic research on gangs: the classic era, the “interstitial” period, and the contemporary period. It traces the evolution of the ethnographic approach to the study of youth behavior in the United States over the past century. It also looks at the interstitial period to provide a contrast to the state of gang ethnography in Europe.
This article discusses key methodological issues that are germane to understanding some of the parameters for developing a sound knowledge base on temporal crime patterns. It then surveys the landscape of what we currently know, focusing initially on the description and explanation of crime trends in the United States and elsewhere through the late 1950s, then addressing comparable themes since that time, which are labeled as the “contemporary period”. The concluding section outlines directions for future research.
Denise A. Hines
This article presents data on the prevalence of domestic violence and trends over time. It discusses five major analytical frameworks that have been employed to understand domestic violence: patriarchy theory, systems theory, alcoholism, personality dysfunction, and ecological models. It further mentions criminal justice system policies such as mandatory arrest, no-drop policies, protective orders, and batterer treatment programs. This article deals with female batterers and distinctive problems they raise for law enforcement and treatment policies. It is also concerned with how societal structures, socioeconomic status, stressful situations, and family dynamics contribute to domestic violence. Programs that focus on psychological issues, anger problems, communication problems, and couple interaction problems are often ignored by domestic violence advocates and prohibited by state laws. Finally, it concludes with the discussion of the policy implications of current knowledge.
Philip J. Cook and Jens Ludwig
This article begins by characterizing the nature and scope of the gun violence problem, including a discussion of the potential benefit from use of guns in self-defense. The next section is devoted to a discussion of guns and it gives some basic facts on the patterns of private gun ownership and gun misuse. The article then discusses policies designed to discourage gun misuse directly by making guns a liability to criminals. Studies using a same basic research design have found evidence of some decline in gun use in crime. The article shows the importance of assessing the effects of overall rates of gun ownership within a community. The descriptive and analytical information summarized here opens the door to favorable consideration of a variety of other interventions.
Violence involving intimate partners may appear at first glance to be an intractable problem. But the character and incidence of intimate-partner violence have varied dramatically among societies and over time in ways that can help scholars, policymakers, and the public understand the circumstances that place intimate partners at risk. Intimate-partner violence can be triggered by government policies that are designed to encourage freedom, equality, and prosperity if officials are blind to the impact of those policies on gender relations. Intimate-partner violence can also be increased by the devastation and demoralization of conquered communities or concentrated and intensified in the households of men who fail or refuse to come to grips with the empowerment of women and the economic and cultural changes that facilitate it. The challenge will be to design public policies that have a benign impact on domestic partnerships and that recognize the risks as well as the benefits of the movement toward gender equality.
This article explores the role that guns play in American society and especially in crime. Section I discusses the possession and use of firearms. Sections II and III examine guns as deterrents to crime including how carrying guns might affect crime levels. Section IV discusses how gun markets are regulated and operated, and Section V examines what we know about effective gun crime prevention and control. The article concludes with a discussion of the policy implications of current knowledge and sketches a research agenda to advance our understanding the role guns play in crime.