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‘Deal with it Yourself?!’ The Link Between Third Parties’ Involvement and the Severity of Conflict Situations

Fri, Nov 17, 8:00 to 9:20am, Marriott, Franklin 5, 4th Floor


This study focuses on serious violent cases that happened in the presence of third parties (i.e. bystanders). Third parties are generally considered important for the understanding of violence. However, so far little empirical attention has been given to the role of third parties in serious violent events, leaving a major gap in our understanding. To fill this gap, this quantitative study aims to shed light on how third parties’ involvement – i.e. inactivity, settlement and partisanship – shapes the severity of violent conflicts and whether there is a link between victims’-offenders’ characteristics (e.g. age, gender and relationship) and third parties’ involvement. To achieve this, the study compares Dutch cases of lethal and nonlethal incidents that occurred in the presence of third parties. Based on an in-depth systematic examination of Dutch court files, findings reveal important differences between lethal and nonlethal violence in terms of third parties’ involvement, and that victims’ and offenders’ characteristics play a crucial role herein.