Victim Offender Overlap

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Two teenage boys walk toward each other. Both are carrying a gun. The boys know each other - they are from the same neighborhood. Both boys draw their guns and both shoot. One bullet hits the target. The other bullet misses. One boy is now a victim, the other boy a perpetrator. The lives of both boys are shaped by the trajectory of those bullets. No longer boys, they are now a victim and an offender.

A matter of chance: How understanding the victim-offender overlap can prevent youth violence

In youth violence, the distinction between victim and offender is often arbitrary or incident-specific. While three decades of research consistently reveals significant overlaps in victim and offender populations, violence prevention policies and programs continue to frame youth violence in a bifurcated manner that may reduce the effectiveness of these programs (Fagan, Piper, & Cheng, 1987). REWRITE This paper intends to define the victim-offender overlap and explore the prevalence and significance of this overlap in youth violence. One implication of this research is that preventing victimization and preventing offending may be best accomplished by targeting funds at a highly concentrated population. This research is therefore highly relevant to
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