Jun 29, 2021
Gun Violence and Desistance: The Role of Mentoring and Social Relations Among Early Violence Desisters
This project explores gun violence desistance mechanisms at work among high-risk young people newly involved in the street outreach-based Cure Violence (CV) model. The research examines how high-risk young people engage with their outreach workers and how credible messengers use their own street background to make meaningful connections with high-risk young people.
The purpose of this research is to help unpack the social, psychological, and contextual processes and factors that may lead to lifestyle and norm changes among high-risk young people who have been engaged in violence.
Using in-depth interviews with early “desisters” (40 CV participants, age 21-30) and focus groups with individuals with sustained desistance (12 CV outreach workers), this project will explore the following research questions:
- How are high-risk young people and their mentors (outreach workers) impacted by the violent norms and culture in their communities?
- How do participants’ sense of identity change during the mentoring process?
- How do outreach workers make sense of their own “street” background in the context of mentoring young people at-risk for gun violence?
By taking a deep dive into the engagement and mentoring process between CV participants and outreach workers, this project will help justify and strengthen programming efforts to reduce street gun-violence and promote desistance using mentoring by credible messengers.
Peter Simonsson, PhD, MSW, LCSW, is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Urban Bioethics at Temple University. He currently works with CV outreach-workers and studies the role of peer mentoring to promote desistance. Prior to his academic career, Peter worked as a social worker in Philadelphia and Sweden for more than 10 years. In this role, Peter served communities impacted by interpersonal violence, primarily sexual abuse and homicide.
- Grant Amount
- Award Type
- Temple University
- Peter Simonsson, postdoctoral fellow, Center for Urban Bioethics at Temple University
- Expected Completion Date
- June 2022
- Focus Areas