Universiteit Leiden

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Research programme

Violence and Violence Prevention

Welcome to the Violence and Violence Prevention Research Group at Leiden University, where we delve into the complexities of modern-day violence, its various forms, and strategies for prevention. In an ever-changing world, understanding the dynamics of violence and its prevention is crucial for fostering safer communities and promoting social justice.

Marieke Liem

In our research group, we focus on a wide array of contemporary violence that is relevant in today's society. This includes:

This encompasses violence between individuals. Through qualitative and quantitative methods, we examine various forms of interpersonal violence, including domestic violence, drug-related violence, firearm-related violence, and homicide. We examine the dynamics, patterns, and consequences of interpersonal violence to develop effective intervention strategies.

Our research on the meaning of violence explores the multifaceted nature of violence, delving into its cultural, social, and psychological dimensions. Through interdisciplinary inquiry, we seek to understand how individuals and communities perceive, experience, and respond to violence.


With the rise of digital technology, cyber violence has emerged as a pressing concern, encompassing online harassment, cyberbullying, and digital hate speech. We analyze the impact of cyber violence on individuals and communities and develop strategies to mitigate its harmful effects.

Our research on the intergenerational transmission of violent ideologies investigates how beliefs and attitudes conducive to violence are passed down through generations within families and communities. By examining the mechanisms and processes involved, we aim to uncover strategies for breaking the cycle of violence and promoting alternative narratives that foster peace, tolerance, and social cohesion across generations.

Our research on violence as a public health problem encompasses the study of suicide and mental health as critical aspects. We investigate the epidemiology, risk factors, and psychosocial determinants of harmful behaviour (directed at the self and directed at others) to develop effective prevention and intervention strategies. By adopting a public health approach, we aim to address the underlying factors contributing to such behaviours, ultimately reducing the burden of harm on individuals and communities.

In this research area, we focus on the intricate dynamics that underpin violent behaviour. By employing an interdisciplinary approach, we examine how social, cultural, and environmental factors interact to shape patterns of violence. We explore the role of social networks, peer influence, and situational contexts in perpetuating or mitigating violent acts. Through empirical analysis and theoretical insights, we seek to contribute to a deeper understanding of the complexities surrounding violence and inform strategies for prevention and intervention.

Our Research and Teaching

At Leiden University, our Research Group is committed to advancing knowledge and understanding in the field of violence and violence prevention through interdisciplinary scholarship and innovative methodologies. Our faculty members are leading experts in their respective fields, bringing diverse perspectives and expertise to our research endeavours.

Through our research projects, we aim to generate data-driven insights into the causes, dynamics, and consequences of violence, with the ultimate goal of informing policy and practice at local, national, and international levels.

In addition to our research activities, we are dedicated to educating the next generation of scholars, practitioners, and advocates in the field of violence prevention. Our curriculum offers a range of programmes, including the Minor ‘Violence Studies’ and the CSM Track ‘Governance of Violence’.

Furthermore, we actively engage with policymakers, community organisations, and other stakeholders to bridge the gap between research and practice and ensure that our work has a meaningful impact on the lives of those affected by violence. By fostering collaboration and dialogue, we strive to create a more just and peaceful world for present and future generations.

Join Us in Making a Difference

Whether you are a student seeking to explore the complexities of violence or a practitioner looking to enhance your skills and knowledge, we invite you to join us in our mission to prevent violence and build safer, more resilient communities.

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