NSfK awards 3 000 000 NOK in research grants to Nordic projects in criminology

At its annual council meeting in March 2022, The Nordic Research Council for Criminology decided to award grants to five research projects.

Their work is set to provide new insights into a variety of subjects: drug law enforcement, compensation schemes for victims, court-imposed care orders, hate speech on social media and desistance.

This year, we received a record number of strong applications for research funding. We have chosen projects that have a strong potential to both inform crime policy in all the Nordic countries, as well as develop Nordic criminology. The grantees are excellent examples of early career researchers that combine academic curiosity and rigor with policy relevant research. On behalf of the Council, I would like to congratulate the researchers and we look forward to important and exiting research results, says Heidi Mork Lomell, NSfK Chair.

The NSfK research grants are designed to support and promote Nordic criminological research and advise Nordic governments on issues related to crime prevention and crime policy.

The grant recipients:

Hildur Fjóla Antonsdóttir (Iceland)
Deserving and Undeserving Victims of Crime: An Analysis of Applications and Awards made by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund in Iceland

State compensation schemes for victims of crime are based on the idea that the state has a duty to protect its citizens from crime, and awards compensation as recognition of a sense of public sympathy and social solidarity with victims. However, state compensation schemes are framed by laws and policies that condition the eligibility of applications. Awards can therefore be lawfully limited or denied which inevitably creates categories of deserving and undeserving victims.

The study aims to gain a better understanding of the social implications of the Icelandic Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund (CICF) and asks: How are the categories of deserving and undeserving victims constituted in the operations of the CICF?

Esben Houborg (Denmark)
Police drug law enforcement in Denmark from 2000 to 2020

While drug policy in Denmark previously had been characterized by a reluctance to criminalize drug users, legislation introduced in 2004 put an end to the de-penalization of the possession of smaller amounts of drugs.

This research project will expand on our current knowledge about the enforcement of the drug legislation in the Nordic context, by examining police register data obtained from the Danish National Police on drug law enforcement in Denmark in the period 2000-2020. The research project will investigate when and where drug law enforcement takes place, who it is that gets charged for drug possession and who it is that receives a sanction, and explore how drug law enforcement has developed over time and how the practices of the police relate to changes in drug policy.

Anna Kahlmeter (Sweden)
Court-imposed care orders in a non-treatment paradigm: trends, demographics and outcomes in Sweden, 1994-2020

The project addresses court-imposed care empirically. The project will utilize Swedish longitudinal full-population micro data from a large number of national administrative registers and aims to study changes in the socio-demographics of the client-group over a 26-year period as well as its links to post-sanction outcomes of labour market establishment, recidivism in crime and health. In the Nordic countries, the political debate is currently imbued with both crime policy issues and the drug issue. Considering the contextual similarities between the Nordic countries, results of analyses from Sweden can be applied also in the other countries and be of importance in ongoing discussions of future approaches to drug policies and the punishment-treatment controversy.

Ali Unlu (Finland)
Aggression and threat rhetoric targeting Muslims and the LGBT community on social media in Finland

The radical far-right is becoming a threat to Finland. Law enforcement records indicate that the majority of the hate crimes have targeted the ethnic and national origin of people, followed by religion or beliefs, sexual orientation, transgender identity or appearance, or disability.

The research aims to connect crime statistics, news in mainstream media and social media discussions.  Social media posts regarding hate speech, aggression, and violent rhetoric in an online far-right milieu targeting Muslims and the LGBT community will be analyzed. A mixed-method approach will be used, combining quantitative and qualitative analysis to identify typical characteristics of discussion threads where these concepts occur, how they are legitimized, to what extent networks between these groups vary, to what extent news triggers discussions on social media and whether it is associated with actual hate crimes.

This research differs from previous studies held in Finland by its methodology and interdisciplinary nature, based on text mining, machine learning algorithms, and various theories to analyze the content and network structures of the groups.

Linnéa Österman (Sweden)
Minority Women’s Experiences of Desistance in Sweden

After years of marginalisation, important progress has been made in terms of acknowledging how gendered conditions and norms influence the lived experience of female desistance.

In the few studies that address minority positions, it has for example been found that racism in the criminal justice system and discriminatory labour markets impact on the experience of desistance for black and ethnic minority men. These studies have focused exclusively on the male experience. This explorative study aims to address this research gap and sets out to explore how female desisters who self-identify as belonging to a minority group voice their story of change, viewed through an intersecting lens of different identities and social positions. The aim is to reveal potential exclusionary processes that these groups face, and ultimately; learn lesson that can aid more women to make a successful road out of crime.

In addition, The Nordic Research Council for Criminology provided support for 3 working groups:

  • The Nordic Network for Penal Voluntary Sector Research Emy Bäcklin (Sweden)
  • Children and young people in conflict with the law Ingun Fornes (Norway)
  • CHANCE – Child abuse and neglect in the Nordic countries Gertrud Sofie Hafstad (Norway)