The Impact of Victimization over Citizen-Police Relationships: The Case of Sao Paulo

Monday, 16 July 2018: 15:30
Oral Presentation
Debora Piccirillo Barbosa da VEIGA, Centre for the Study of Violence - University of São Paulo (NEV-USP), Brazil
Aline GOMES, Center for the Study of Violence, Brazil
Renan Theodoro de OLIVEIRA, Universidade de Sao Paulo (USP), Brazil
In recent years, the study of youth victimization and deviation became more frequent. In Brazil, studies has shown that young people are the main group affected by serious violence (WAISELFISZ, 2014; 2015), the main victims of police violence (SINHORETTO, 2014), and are exposed to multiple forms of victimization (CARDIA, 2010). The exposure to violence has been proved to affect youth development (OSOFSKY, 1999), causing psychologic traumas. National researches in Brazil (CARDIA, 2003; 2010) show that people exposed to violence during youth have more chances to become victims in the future, and are more likely to support the use of violence to solve conflicts.

This paper aims to explore another kind of impact that exposure to violence may have over youth: their relationship with legal authorities, such as police. Many scholars have highlighted the role that contact with police has over the attitudes of citizens towards authorities and laws and how these attitudes may influence youth’s future legal behavior (TYLER et al., 2014). We argue that victimization also has an important role in shaping these attitudes and legal behaviors.

From a sample of 800 early-adolescents born in 2005, studying and living in the City of Sao Paulo, Brazil, we have found that those who have seen people selling drugs on the street, seen armed people walking in the neighborhood, and heard gunshots are less likely to trust in the police. In addition, those who declare have experienced more of these situations also reported more rule-violating behaviors.

Results suggest that victimization may undermine youth’s relationship with police and negatively shape their legal behavior.