A novel approach for understanding trauma related youth violence in low resource contexts: A retrospective case file review in Northern Ireland

Colm Walsh, Paul Best, Kelvin Doherty

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Abstract

Adverse life events during childhood have been associated with increased rates of violence. Despite decades of violent conflict, there continues to be a paucity of contextually relevant data related to youth violence in Northern Ireland. Prospective studies are useful but these require time and resources that are not often available. In the absence of such studies, there remains a need to understand the prevalence and impact of serious youth violence in a cost-effective and timely way. The primary aim of this study is to present a novel method for collecting and analysing violence related data using existing administrative data through a retrospective case file review of young people aged 10-18 who spent time in custodial services (n=145) over a one-year period in Northern Ireland. A digital worksheet was developed and following review, data from each file was extracted. Analyses examined the relationship between potentially traumatic life events and violent offending. Consistent with previous studies, this study found that rates of both adversity and violent offending are high. However not all forms of adversity are associated with the same violent outcomes. Regression models illustrated a significant relationship between community-based victimization and violent offending. Those who experienced more serious forms of violence were more likely to engage in higher harm violence. This study adds to the international literature on psychological trauma and youth violence and makes recommendations for future investigation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalViolence: An International Journal
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2021

Keywords

  • Youth
  • Violence
  • Trauma
  • Prevention
  • Evidence

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