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publication cover Violent Women and Violence Against Women
Gender Relations in the Maras and Other Street Gangs of Central America’s Northern Triangle Region

Author(s): Isabel Aguilar Umaña and Jeanne Rikkers (Interpeace)

The youth gangs of Central America’s Northern Triangle are mainly comprised of men; nevertheless, women are present in multiple ways in the lives of gang members, either as mothers, sisters, girlfriends, friends or fellow gang members. This publication is based on the findings of an exploratory study of the role of women and gender-based relations in the inner circles of these gangs, examining the motivations of girls and teenagers to join street gangs, their experiences as women in these groups and why some of them decide to leave. The publication concludes with a series of policy and funding recommendations to international policy makers to ensure that that vulnerable young girls and teenage women who are victims of gender violence receive appropriate and timely interventions.

publication cover Youth and Urban Violence in San Salvador, Rio de Janeiro and Praia
Public Policies, Community-based Responses and Recommendations

Author(s): Carla Alfonso, Katia Cardoso, Rita Santos, Sílvia Roque (Peace Studies Group (NEP/CES))

Often perceived as the most dangerous actor in urban violence scenarios, youth has increasingly become a target of governmental agencies and policies, as well as civil society initiatives, specifically in countries facing epidemic levels of youth mortality as a result of violence. Brazil and El Salvador are both at the top of the world rankings of youth homicide and plagued with youth collective violence. In Cape Verde, political and media debate names youth involvement in violence as a key national concern. This report provides an overview of key public security policies and community-based initiatives addressing the issue of youth violence in the three contexts.

publication cover Urban Violence in Caracas and Rio de Janeiro: Local and European Responses

Author(s): Susanne Gratius and Marcelo Valença (FRIDE)

Caracas and Rio de Janeiro are prominent examples of urban violence. Although local responses vary, police reform is a common strategy applied by the authorities in both cities and new police policies represent a shift towards early warning and conflict prevention. Decreasing homicide rates and positive public opinion polls illustrate successful security initiatives in Rio de Janeiro, yet alarming homicide rates in Caracas prove that governmental responses have not yet been successful. This report compares both experiences of communitarian policing and identifies possibilities for bilateral cooperation on public security, concluding with a series of recommendations for the European Union and some proposals for the strengthening of tripartite cooperation to tackle urban violence through early warning and conflict-prevention policies.

publication cover Youth, Collective Urban Violence and Security: Key Findings

Author(s): Peace Studies Group (NEP/CES)

Based on case studies in Rio de Janeiro, San Salvador, Praia and Bissau, this paper discusses three main challenges facing research and policy making regarding collective urban youth violence. It argues for a shift of focus in research from the analysis of “problematic” youth to how violence impregnates daily lives and becomes normalised through specific local, social and political conditions; argues for a change of focus in the analysis of the violent mobilisation of youth, emphasising the need to address the appeal of symbolic revenues permeating the search for valued social status and possibilities in contexts of adversity and violence; supports an urgent shift at global and national policy levels, affirming that repressive policies have hitherto failed to contain youth violence or improve preventive policy design.

publication cover Women and Gun Violence
Key Findings from Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), San Salvador (El Salvador) and Maputo (Mozambique)

Author(s): Rita Santos, Sílvia Roque, Sara Araújo, Tatiana Moura (NEP/CES)

Gender expectations and attitudes both condition and are conditioned by small arms dissemination and use. Although men constitute the majority of the direct casualties of gun violence, large numbers of women and girls are also disproportionately affected, either directly or indirectly. Because of their sex, women are more likely to become victims of armed domestic violence or sexual violence at gunpoint. Many more live in fear of armed violence and have to cope with the effects of missing loved ones, as well as the broader political, social and economic consequences of armed conflict. This report sheds light on two key factors at the heart of this violence: the dissemination and misuse of small arms, and deep-rooted gender power imbalances.

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