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Lethal school violence in Scandinavia: development of an incident typology and suggestions for prevention*


In this paper, we address the question of lethal school violence and suggest some preventive strategies. Previous studies in the field have been dominated of cases from the U.S. or Germany, but in this paper we instead focus on lethal violence which has occurred in Scandinavia. Previous research of lethal violence and prevention against it often stresses the complexity and limitations in research. Mainly since the impossibility to profile perpetrators or make lists of warnings signs. In addition, since lethal violence are rare events, there are methodologic challenges related to studies of the phenomena. In the study, the included cases are different acts of lethal violence, occurred 1961–2016 (n = 12). In the first analysis, the aim is to construct a typology, and in the second analysis the typology is used for analysing suitable prevention strategies. The study emphasizes the relation between perpetrator, victim, school and traceable motive in the typology, and the result concludes three different types of lethal violence. The first is based on interpersonal revenge, the second institutional revenge and the third societal revenge. Two prevention strategies seem suitable: one aiming at schools organizational structure and the second to architectural decisions in the design process.

Keywords: School violence, typology, threat assessment team, access control


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