In January, recent graduate Steven Cook began a new position as a Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University. Steven recently completed and defended his dissertation, A Comparative Analysis of the Violent Victimization Experiences of Street and School Youth under the supervision of Professors Julian Tanner (supervisor), Brent Berry and Scot Wortley (Criminology).
Steven’s dissertation abstract is as follows:
Research on violent victimization among youth has received a considerable amount of academic attention in recent years; however, this research has typically been conducted separately for conventional populations of school-based youth and at-risk populations of street-involved youth. Although it is generally assumed that the rates of violent victimization are higher among the street-involved youth, to date, research has yet to undertake a comprehensive and comparative analysis of these two populations. Without this research, the presumed differences between these two populations will remain untested, and an analysis of how the mechanisms operate similarly and differently between these two populations will remain largely unexplored. This dissertation project addresses this gap in the literature by undertaking a comparative analysis of violent victimization, the victim-offender overlap, and the victim-fear relationship among a comparable sample of school-based youth and street-involved youth. In general, the findings from this dissertation reveal that the street-involved youth are violently victimized at much greater rates than the school-based youth, and these differences cannot be explained away by the social-situational factors that are more abundant among the street-involved youth. While the factors predicting the victim-offender overlap appear to follow a similar pattern for both the school and street youth, the dangerous social context of life on the streets creates an environment where violence and victimization frequently co-occur. These high rates of violent victimization do not directly translate into a higher level of fearfulness of crime, however, as the street-involved youth report being less fearful on average than do the school-based youth. These results suggest that fearlessness may be a learned adaptation among the street-involved youth to survive life on the streets.
Prior to completing his dissertation, Steven worked as a full-time Lecturer in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Nipissing University in North Bay. At Cardiff, Steven is teaching quantitative methods and criminology. Cardiff University is one of the top research universities in the United Kingdom with an excellent reputation in sociology. Over the next few years, Steven plans to continue developing his research agenda, and is interested in the application of quantitative methodology to the study of criminological theory, youth justice, adolescent mental health, and the interrelationship between mental health and crime.