The aim of this article is to examine how violent traumatic exposure over the life course can lead to future gang membership, violent offending and subsequent contact with the law. Drawing on a case study approach and a first person narrative our research explores the interpersonal nature of violent offending including the psychological impact of these offences on mental health. More specifically, we argue that traumatic exposure to violence may a) lead to the development of post-traumatic symptoms such as aggression, violence and dissociation, b) a need to repeat the trauma to self-cure or relieve the trauma and c) increase the likelihood of contact with the criminal justice system where trauma survivors are re-victimized and develop further violent coping strategies to ‘cure’ the trauma.

Trauma and Violent Offending – Understanding Gang Violence Through the Lens of an Ex-Gang Member – 2015-11-17