Who are we?

We are a young and passionate multidisciplinary team of researchers from Croatia with a common interest – to study violence.

What are our goals?

Our main goal is to study etiology, phenomenology and prosecution of delinquent violence. Also, we will use an innovative methodology to study a ‘dark figure’ of delinquent violence and also try to detect why such a phenomenon happens. Through our research, we will try to measure a quality of violence taking into consideration different parameters (duration of violent act, vulnerability of victim, an instrument, severity of injuries etc.), with the main idea that normatively two criminal offences can both be evaluated as homicides, but is the quality/quantity of violence in both cases exactly the same. That will help us make “genuine violence classification system of delinquent violence" which we will then compare to normative framework. Basic assumption is that they will differ in some cases. With all the data we collect through our fieldwork we will have a detailed insight into violence in Croatia, with an explanation of why it happens and how it happens. Based on that we will do the mapping of violence.

What we do?

We are working on a new science project “CROATIAN VIOLENCE MONITOR – A Study of the Phenomenology, Etiology, and Prosecution of Delinquent Violence with Focus on Protecting Particularly Vulnerable Groups of Victims" led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Anna-Maria Getoš Kalac. The project started March 1st 2018, and its envisaged duration is 5 years. This project is funded by Croatian Science Foundation and Faculty of Law, University in Zagreb.

How are we doing it?

Violence Research Lab will use a mixed method approach combining qualitative and quantitative methods of inquiry, implementing at least 2 and potentially all of the following: interviews with key persons, experts, practitioners, victims, and offenders; case analysis; self-report-victimisation survey; self-report-delinquency survey.

Scientific contribution

The specific contributions Violence Research Lab will make to the area of violence research are:  an operational and applicable definition of delinquent violence that re-focuses on the ‘core business’ of violence research, and that has been tested extensively in the field;  foundational research findings covering all (sub)types of delinquent violence in a holistic way in order to provide the necessary violence context for interpreting and understanding specific (sub)types of delinquent violence;  specifics of delinquent violence directed against particularly vulnerable groups of victims and targeted solutions for their protection from violence;  methodological solutions for the study of delinquent violence, esp. through combined method approach and innovative “phenomenologically thick description of violence”;  a “genuine violence classification system” enabling us to see the criminological reality of violence, rather than its normative conceptualisation;  assessments of delinquent violence’s ‘dark figure’ and mechanisms for the improvement of its’ detection across all relevant institutional actors, based on a ‘dark figure’ pilot project;  identifications of the actors and mechanisms with the “power to define” delinquent violence, with an assessment of the consequences of this definition power, esp. in the context of clearly distinguishing misdemeanours and criminal offense and competing criminal offenses;  analysis of the prosecutorial process and its’ various filter mechanisms, from detection and reporting to indicting, adjudication and sentencing, based on empirical data form case analysis of a targeted total of 8,000-10,000 finally adjudicated prosecution and court files covering all relevant 223 prosecution and court offices in Croatia.

Practical implementation?

Although there is a considerable amount of strategies and specific protocols already in place in this area, preliminary findings based on practitioner consultations confirm the general impression that these are not being successfully implemented in practice, esp. regarding the mandatory collection of statistical data on certain types of delinquent violence by all government institutions. One of the reasons for non- or low-perception of these protocols in practice is their very general nature with a one-fits-all approach instead of targeted solutions for each institution involved in the process of preventing and detecting delinquent violence and cyber harassment. Based on our research findings targeted solutions shall be offered via an overall national strategy paper with targeted manuals and protocols, but also through education and training of practitioners and persons included in judicial system. Finally, we will offer a “genuine violence phenomenology app” for commercial use.