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“What are the Consequences of Racial Disparities Within the Scope of Community Reporting and What are the Ways to Address Them?”

Author: Michael Fernandes

Department: UIC Institute for Policy & Civic Engagement

Advisors: Dr. Joseph K. Hoereth, IPCE and Dr. Stevan Weine, Department of Psychiatry UICCOM

Research Team:
Principal Investigator: David P. Eisenman, MD MSHS, Professor of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Professor of Public Health, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Co-Principal Investigators: Stevan Weine, MD, University of Illinois at Chicago; Paul Thomas, PhD, University of Huddersfield (UK); Michele Grossman, PhD, Deakin University (Australia).

Research Staff: Zach Brahmbhatt, Michael Fernandes, Nicole Jones, Chloe Polutnik Smith, Natalie Porter, Nilpa Shah, Jaden Zwick

Abstract: In the United States, targeted and extremist violence is an issue confronting many communities. Targeted violence is selected violence against a particular individual or group based on personal characteristics or affiliations like ethnicity, sex, race, or religion. We know that, around two thirds of the time, perpetrators of these violent attacks elicit concern or worry in a family member, friend, or peer – known as “intimate bystanders.” Faced with a situation of targeted and extremist violence, such ‘intimate bystander’ community members need to feel confident, willing, and clear on how to share their concerns with the proper authority. However, the process of sharing information can involve barriers that can deter intimate bystanders from communicating their concerns, resulting in important information that could prevent harm going unshared. The purpose of this study was to find out what a diverse set of community members think during cases where a person-of-concern may be involved in an instance of targeted violence. A team of researchers at the University of California Los Angeles, University of Illinois Chicago, Deakin University (Australia) and University of Huddersfield (UK) conducted a study that included interviews with 25 law enforcement and community practitioners in violence prevention and 123 community members from California and Illinois. Each interview involved posing a hypothetical situation where a loved one/coworker was showing signs they may commit an act of targeted violence. Conversations with a diverse set of community members revealed that racial disparities are a hindrance and complication to the community reporting process. Any delay in the process of sharing concerns can prove fatal. Moreover, the research team identified what trainings, modalities to reporting, and community-building programs are necessary if racial disparities are to be mitigated within the community reporting process.

Keywords: targeted violence, targeted violence prevention, bystander effect, modalities to reporting