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Analysis and Comment (48)

At least no one got their head cut off … At least no one got their head cut off … Emilio Lavandeira Jr/EPA

Bites, brawls and severed heads: football’s history of violence

Another game, another bite. That’s the allegation against Uruguayan Luis Suárez, anyway, who has been accused of sinking his teeth into an opposition player. For the third time. But a mid-game nibble on…
The standard image of domestic violence doesn’t fit everyone. The standard image of domestic violence doesn’t fit everyone. Shutterstock

Domestic abuse services are failing LGBT victims

Services for women fleeing domestic abuse and sexual violence in the UK have developed over the past 40 years, from grassroots services staffed by volunteers to a professionalised (if still small) sector…
There is no evidence that Call of Duty causes suicide. There is no evidence that Call of Duty causes suicide. campuspartymexico

Don’t blame Call of Duty for teenage suicide

A British coroner has sparked anxiety among parents by linking Call of Duty, one of the most popular video games in the world, to teenage suicide. John Pollard says Call of Duty has “figured in recent…
Bad influence: Abu Hamza in court. Bad influence: Abu Hamza in court. EPA/Jane Rosenberg

Radical ideology isn’t what makes extremists turn violent

This week saw the convictions of two men at opposite ends of the process of radicalisation – one convicted for radicalising others, the other for being radicalised himself. In the United States, a court…
Frack the police: a protester is taken down at Barton Moss. Frack the police: a protester is taken down at Barton Moss. Lynne Cameron/PA

Police violence at anti-fracking protests is about order, not law

In November 2013 at Barton Moss on the outskirts of Salford, IGas, a company specialising in onshore extraction of oil and gas, began exploratory drilling to test for coal bed methane and shale gas. The…
More complex than the bottle. More complex than the bottle. Fight by Shutterstock

Higher alcohol prices don’t always mean less violence

A recent study by researchers at Cardiff University claimed that the number of people who attended hospital for injuries caused by violence has fallen by 12% in the past year. But to what extent can the…
Bleak and brutal: HMYOI Brinsford. Bleak and brutal: HMYOI Brinsford. David Jones/PA Wire

We must do more to protect children in prison

The chief inspector of prisons has identified the single worst prison he has visited – and, scandalously, it’s a jail for children. HMYOI Brinsford in Wolverhampton is filthy, squalid and has levels of…
A bit of ‘territorial support’ from the thin blue line. A bit of ‘territorial support’ from the thin blue line. Carl Court/PA Wire

Violence in Britain: getting away with murder?

Over the past ten years, 519 people have died after contact with the police, either in custody (the great majority) or during a pursuit or another road traffic incident. Some 23 people have been shot by…
IWhile the murders of Sophie Collombet and others have given prominence to the issue of violence against tourists, it is still statistically rare for a international visitor to Australia to become a murder victim. IWhile the murders of Sophie Collombet and others have given prominence to the issue of violence against tourists, it is still statistically rare for a international visitor to Australia to become a murder victim. AAP/Dan Peled

Murder down under: is Australia a dangerous place to visit?

The murder of French student Sophie Collombet in Brisbane in late March has sparked a debate about the safety of travellers in Australia. A man has now been arrested and charged with Collombet’s rape and…
Measures to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence will take time to really have an effect. Measures to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence will take time to really have an effect. ABC TV

Dead Drunk: alcohol, violence and a night in Kings Cross

Two months after the death of 18-year-old Sydney man Daniel Christie, who was punched to the ground on New Year’s Eve, New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell introduced a set of measures aimed at improving…
Rosie Batty responded to the death of her son, Luke Batty, at his father’s hands with a brave public plea for understanding of the difficult reality they all faced. Rosie Batty responded to the death of her son, Luke Batty, at his father’s hands with a brave public plea for understanding of the difficult reality they all faced. Supplied

Violence and mental illness: harsh reality demands sensitive answers

The violent and senseless death of 11-year-old Luke Batty in Victoria has not only drawn attention to the serious problem of family violence but has also raised questions about the role that undiagnosed…
Mixed martial arts fighter Shaun McNeil (above) is accused of killing Sydney teenager Daniel Christie with a single punch in Kings Cross, Sydney. The case has sparked debate on alcohol and violence. Mixed martial arts fighter Shaun McNeil (above) is accused of killing Sydney teenager Daniel Christie with a single punch in Kings Cross, Sydney. The case has sparked debate on alcohol and violence. AAP Image/Facebook

King hits: young men, masculinity and violence

The recent outcry in Sydney about “alcohol-fuelled violence” has many people asking whether young men are out of control, or whether alcohol, or our hyper-masculine culture, might be to blame. Now the…
Daniel Christie is the latest young person to have lost his life to senseless, alcohol-related violence, adding to public pressure for nationwide action. Daniel Christie is the latest young person to have lost his life to senseless, alcohol-related violence, adding to public pressure for nationwide action. AAP

Alcohol and violence: a complex issue in search of leadership

The start of 2014 has seen a tragic, but sadly predictable discussion around Australia about lives lost or hanging in the balance due to violence. All of the high-profile cases involved alcohol. These…
Peacekeeping in South Sudan means grappling with deep ethnic divisions. Peacekeeping in South Sudan means grappling with deep ethnic divisions. Ben Curtis/AP

Militarised politics is the norm in troubled South Sudan

Against a backdrop of continuing ethnic violence, delegations from South Sudan’s warring factions have arrived in Ethiopia to try to negotiate a settlement to the crisis that has riven Africa’s newest…
How do we deal with people who use a night out as an excuse for a fight? How do we deal with people who use a night out as an excuse for a fight? Flickr/Anamorphic Mike

Itching for a fight: the motives behind alcohol-fuelled violence

This weekend, yet another violent assault has reminded us of the need to curb alcohol-related violence in public spaces. For most students, schoolies week means a trip away from home to celebrate the end…
Read with caution. Read with caution. David Jones/PA

Hard evidence: how dangerous is mental illness?

Once again, the issue of mental illness and public danger has hit the headlines, following the murder of Christina Edkins by Phillip Simelane. It was reported Simelane was released from prison with no…
Drinkers who consume energy drinks record higher breath alcohol concentrations than those who don’t. Drinkers who consume energy drinks record higher breath alcohol concentrations than those who don’t. Flickr/thewhitestdogalive

Think alcohol and energy drinks are nothing to worry about? Think again

Heavy drinkers are mixing alcohol with energy drinks to enable them to drink longer and get more drunk. While the trend is concerning many public health researchers – because the risks remain unknown – others…
British woman Samantha Lewthwaite is suspected of being a ringleader in the Kenyan mall terror attacks. But why are we so surprised at the idea of a female terrorist? British woman Samantha Lewthwaite is suspected of being a ringleader in the Kenyan mall terror attacks. But why are we so surprised at the idea of a female terrorist? EPA/Dai Kurokawa

‘White Widow’, ‘Black Widow’: why do female terrorists perplex us?

While the Westgate terrorist siege in Kenya propelled terrorist group Al Shabaab and, to a lesser extent, the Muslim Youth Centre (MYC) back onto the global scene, the alleged involvement of Samantha Lewthwaite…
Research suggests violent videogames such as Hitman don’t make people antisocial, so is it time to change the debate? Research suggests violent videogames such as Hitman don’t make people antisocial, so is it time to change the debate? Michael Heilemann

When videogame violence has no effect, should we worry?

Earlier this week on The Conversation, Morgan Tear wrote a terrific article calling into question the supposed negative effect of videogame violence on players' behaviour. And I would argue we could use…
Research showing no effect on antisocial behaviour after playing violent videogames (such as Call of Duty: Black Ops) should not be discounted. Research showing no effect on antisocial behaviour after playing violent videogames (such as Call of Duty: Black Ops) should not be discounted. hmomoy

Violent videogames: why the ‘null effect’ shouldn’t be shot down

The debate over the impact of playing violent videogames on aggressive attitudes and behaviour is a long and heated one. Based on my research, I would argue the link is not as straightforward as A + B…
Despite the amount of media coverage, rates of violence are falling worldwide. Despite the amount of media coverage, rates of violence are falling worldwide. Wikimedia Commons / Joseph Kelley

Is the world really becoming less violent?

There is a growing consensus among scholars that rates of violence in Western countries are steadily declining, and have been doing so for centuries. The statistic used by most people who support this…
A grand narrative is more important than bloodlust. A grand narrative is more important than bloodlust. jit

Gamers want epic tales, not just violent short-cuts

Battlefield 3, a video game developed by Electronic Arts (EA), has caused a stir. The debate of violence in computer games has become not just a regulatory issue but a political one too. Perhaps understanding…
Woolwich is in shock, but South East London will recover. Woolwich is in shock, but South East London will recover. PA/Gareth Fuller

Woolwich murder: the view from south-east London

Last night in South East London, the deafening frequency of the sirens was reminiscent of London after the 7th July bombings, as the police cars and vans hurtled down the New Cross Road towards Woolwich…
In an analysis of seven sites in NSW, the highest crime rates correlated with the highest levels of lead in the air. In an analysis of seven sites in NSW, the highest crime rates correlated with the highest levels of lead in the air. Flickr/Frank de Kleine

Childhood lead exposure linked to crime in adulthood

Australians who were exposed to high levels of lead as children may be at greater risk of committing violent and impulsive crimes two decades later, our yet-to-be-published research suggests. The origins…
Hunting game has been turned into a hunting game. Hunting game has been turned into a hunting game. TrackingPoint

TrackingPoint bolt-action rifles are game-changers, not a game

If you were born before 1985 there’s a good chance you watched Looney Tunes on a Saturday morning and followed the exploits of Elmer Fudd, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Poor old Daffy, at times disguised…
In the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, we need to more concerned than ever about the effects of violent videogames. In the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, we need to more concerned than ever about the effects of violent videogames. JBLivin/Flickr

Violent videogames should worry us (but shouldn’t be banned)

The Connecticut town of Southington last week introduced a videogames return program, offering a $25 gift card to parents who wanted to rid their households of violent titles. The program comes in the…
Does the media need to rethink their reporting on violence against women? Does the media need to rethink their reporting on violence against women? AAP/Melissa Iaria

Reporting on violence against women not up to par

A journalist and friend once said to me, “everyone thinks they’ve been badly represented by the media". This struck me, as for the past three years Melbourne Law School Professor Jenny Morgan and I have…
Syrian rebels are using violence, but it may not be in their best interest. Syrian rebels are using violence, but it may not be in their best interest. EPA/Cem Ozdel

What hope is there for violent resistance in Syria?

What should we hope for when we look at the ongoing crisis in Syria? I don’t really know anymore. The most interesting book that I have read this year is Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic…
People march through Brunswick in Melbourne after the murder of Jill Meagher. People march through Brunswick in Melbourne after the murder of Jill Meagher. AAP

RIP Jill Meagher: but let’s not forget the other female victims of violence

The outpouring of emotion for murdered Irish woman Jill Meagher was intense and genuine. But why don’t we see similar displays for all female victims of violence? In Melbourne, an estimated 30,000 people…
Parents' drinking patterns impact on how young people think about and consume alcohol. Parents' drinking patterns impact on how young people think about and consume alcohol. Kuorui

Mirror ball, mirror ball, in the school hall: are parents allowed any booze at all?

The question of whether adults should be allowed to drink alcohol at school discos, fetes and sports games was thrust into the spotlight this week after the Australian Drug Foundation urged education departments…
A Syrian woman in Turkey prays for those left behind. A Syrian woman in Turkey prays for those left behind. EPA/Tolga Bozoglu

Rape in Syria: a weapon of war or instrument of terror?

In Syria, rape is being used by armed groups as a means to an end. In this context, reports have emerged detailing the use of sexual violence by Syrian armed forces and paramilitaries loyal to Assad. Last…
Online stalking gets far too much attention, but it’s worth making some changes to prevent it happening to you. Online stalking gets far too much attention, but it’s worth making some changes to prevent it happening to you. Flickr/Ed Yourdon

Stop the trolls: how to prevent cyber stalking happening to you

Recent cases of online abuse against Charlotte Dawson and NRL player Robbie Farah have attracted considerable media attention and triggered public debate about how to respond to this issue. But how big…
The church must be held to account. The church must be held to account. just.Luc

New revelations of church abuse must bring justice for victims

As the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into child abuse looms, Archbishop Denis Hart and three of his bishops have forewarned their Victorian flock of imminent disturbing reports about past failures of…
James Holmes was a crazed loner, but the people in the cinema at Aurora have stronger stories about blockbuster movies. James Holmes was a crazed loner, but the people in the cinema at Aurora have stronger stories about blockbuster movies. EPA/RJ Sangosti/ Pool

The Aurora shootings: blockbuster movies can bring out our best

The immediate information emerging in the aftermath of James Holmes’ murder rampage in Aurora, Colorado, makes a good case for the idea that media violence begets the real thing. A closer look, however…
Friends of the teenager who has been accused of killing Thomas Kelly leave court last week. Friends of the teenager who has been accused of killing Thomas Kelly leave court last week. AAP/Paul Miller

Blame it on the booze: mass drinking drives Sydney’s violence

The recent unprovoked killing of a young reveller named Thomas Kelly by a male stranger in Sydney’s Kings Cross has set off extensive community and political debate about the violence that is associated…
Indonesian activists protest against the Indonesian government’s violence in West Papua. Indonesian activists protest against the Indonesian government’s violence in West Papua. EPA/Bagus Indahon

Violence in West Papua: the vulnerable become Indonesia’s latest target

Why has West Papua’s non-violent student movement the West Papuan National Committee (KNPB) become the latest target of a campaign of terror in West Papua? Calls for a referendum Since Indonesia’s 1963…
Emerging evidence suggests early parental supply of alcohol is associated with increased risks. Emerging evidence suggests early parental supply of alcohol is associated with increased risks. AdamCohn

How to set teens up for a healthy relationship with alcohol

Young Australians are exposed to a range of risks from alcohol, both from drinking themselves and other people’s use. According to the most recent National Drug Strategy Household Survey: A third of 14…
The supposed link between videogames and violence is riddled with holes. The supposed link between videogames and violence is riddled with holes. Rudy Lara

Bite the bullet: videogames don’t make deadly shooters

Is there an explicit link between playing violent videogames and becoming a deadly killer? If we are to take seriously a new study published in the journal Communication Research, there seems to be. Cue…
The boundary between the military and everyday life is being eroded by videogames. The boundary between the military and everyday life is being eroded by videogames. gelle.dk

Anders Breivik, videogames and the militarisation of society

The ongoing trial of Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Breivik has generated a great deal of media coverage, public debate and analysis. Much of this has focused on claims made by Breivik that he used…
Playing violent games didn’t make Anders Breivik a mass-murderer. Playing violent games didn’t make Anders Breivik a mass-murderer. alessio.sartore

Videogames, aggression, Anders Breivik – let’s not join the dots

“Violent videogames cause people to become violent in real life”. It’s a familiar refrain for anyone who has read a newspaper in the last 15 years. Today, the media reporting surrounding the trial of accused…
No independent studies have examined the safety of Tasers on diverse populations. No independent studies have examined the safety of Tasers on diverse populations.

Why the taser-related death toll is rising

The death of 21-year-old Brazilian national, Roberto Laudisio Cruti, on a Sydney street after being tasered by police has ignited questions about the safety and police use of these weapons. Tasers, the…
Cast – Elizabeth Banks (L-R), Liam Hemsworth, Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson – and director Gary Ross at the premiere of The Hunger Games in Germany. Cast – Elizabeth Banks (L-R), Liam Hemsworth, Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson – and director Gary Ross at the premiere of The Hunger Games in Germany. EPA/BRITTA PEDERSEN

Serious themes for young adults sets The Hunger Games apart

The film adaptation of the first of Suzanne Collins' trilogy, The Hunger Games, will premiere nationally tomorrow. The books and film are set in a post-apocalyptic America, where teenagers are forced to…
An anti-Gaddafi fighter holds human remains from a mass grave. Despite this, overall violence among humans has been dropping. An anti-Gaddafi fighter holds human remains from a mass grave. Despite this, overall violence among humans has been dropping. AAP/Mohamed Messara

The world has never been as safe and peaceful as it is now

Hard though it may be to believe, there has been a long-term, very significant decline in all kinds of violence around the world. In his most recent book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, Harvard evolutionary…
Soccer fans in NSW in 2005 after a disturbance between supporters of rival teams. Soccer fans in NSW in 2005 after a disturbance between supporters of rival teams. AAP

A-League fans: don’t label them football hooligans

The late Johnny Warren deftly described some Australians' attitude to football as being a game for “sheilas, wogs, and poofters”. Whilst public interest has increased markedly following successive World…
Young people who feel excluded from mainstream politics often join extreme groups to ‘belong’. Young people who feel excluded from mainstream politics often join extreme groups to ‘belong’. AFP/Wojtek Radwanski

Youth violence and group identity: understanding radical protest

Many young people in Europe think violent protest can be a legitimate response to the political system they feel no connection to. They believe government pays very little attention to them and have very…
Some groups in Karachi have demanded the army takes to the streets to restore law and order. Some groups in Karachi have demanded the army takes to the streets to restore law and order. EPA/Rehan Khan

Karachi violence putting NATO troops in Afghanistan at risk

There is a threat to Nato forces in Afghanistan which the world is ignoring. Violent gangs have been killing indiscriminately in Karachi, the Pakistani city vital to the supply chain which sustains ISAF…
West Coast Eagles player Patrick McGinnity has been suspended after making comments about another player’s mother. West Coast Eagles player Patrick McGinnity has been suspended after making comments about another player’s mother. AAP

The mother of all headaches: culture change in the AFL

AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou constantly reminds us that women love Aussie Rules and that the AFL returns that respect and allegiance. The key expression of this regard, the AFL’s Respect and Responsibility…

Research and News (1)

Research Briefs (12)

Violent videogames change self-perception

New research has found evidence that playing violent video games leads players to see themselves, and their opponents, as…