Qualitative Research on the Dark Figure of Physical Violence


One of the central objectives of the Croatian Violence Monitor/Violence Research Lab project is to empirically analyze the phenomenology, etiology, and prosecution of violence in Croatia, based on the findings from the previous Balkan Homicide Study (2016). The aim is to provide a detailed insight into the phenomenology of violence by examining its incidence, structure, geographical distribution, perpetrator and victim profiles, as well as phenomenological profiles, with special focus on qualitative exploration of the dark figure of violence. The purpose of the interviews was to collect data about the dark figure of violence, which meant violence that is neither reported nor prosecuted. For the purposes of collecting specific real-life data and feedback from experts in various domains of social and professional life dealing with potential violence victims and incidents, we developed a semi-structured interview schedule based on particular violence-related experiences different experts might encounter during their practice. We present research guidelines and experiences from implementing an interview on the dark figure of violence including phenomenological features of nonreported violent offenses via interviews with victims, perpetrators, and “gatekeepers” (i.e., professionals who might report or not report violent acts) such as police, medical doctors, social workers, teachers, psychologists and pedagogues, judges and state attorneys, priests, nightclub bouncers, and crime perpetrators.

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