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Annual Nigel Walker Lecture - Creating More Peaceful Societies: Global Strategies to Reduce Interpersonal Violence by 50% in 2040

When May 17, 2018
from 05:00 PM to 07:00 PM
Where Institute of Criminology
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The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have put violence reduction at the heart of global efforts to create sustainable societies. Goal 16 is entirely devoted to the promotion of peaceful societies and the rule of law and target 16.2 sets the goal of ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children. The SDG agenda is an extraordinary window of opportunity to make significant progress towards reducing all forms of interpersonal violence. However, it also poses vast challenges. Achieving significant population-level reductions across the world within less than two decades presents a task for policy and research at a scale for which no precedent exists in the field of violence prevention.

In my talk I will outline the scientific knowledge needed to meet this challenge. I will argue, first, that scientific evidence based on randomized trials is important, but not sufficient. We also need to understand the mechanisms that drive major population-wide declines such as the violence drop in many high-income countries over the past 20 years. Second, research on major violence declines across the world suggests that specific violence prevention programming played a subordinate role in the reduction of violence at the population level. A more comprehensive approach should integrate emerging knowledge about the effects of broader public health policies, for example in the field of the prevention and treatment of mental health more generally. Finally, I will argue that the widespread view of an opposition between repression and prevention needs to be overcome. A multi-sectorial approach should include effective policing and legitimate justice institutions much as early prevention, promotion of social and cognitive skills, situational strategies and victim protection. 

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The Violence Research Centre (VRC) conducts research to promote the understanding of the causes, the consequences, and the prevention of interpersonal violence. The VRC takes a strong interest in advancing quantitative methodologies for the study of violence and conducts longitudinal studies, experimental studies, programme evaluations, epidemiological surveys, and cross-national comparative studies. The research is done in close cooperation with leading experts from academia, policy-making institutions and civil society organizations.

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