1 October 2018

Research in violence and threats against prison guards and fare conductors can contribute to a better work environment


A new research project carried out by the Department of Sociology will contribute with knowledge, that can be converted into recommendations and tools to deal with conflicts.

Fare conductor. (Photo: Movia, Ulrik Jantzen)

Research shows that law enforcement employees and care workers report the highest prevalence of work related violence – including both prison guards and fare conductors. However, there is a lack of knowledge about what types of citizen interactions, that employees especially should be aware of and what kind of behavior that can act de-escalating in conflict situations. This is what Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology Marie Rosenkrantz Lindegaard and her colleagues want to study.

- With this research we want to contribute with knowledge that can be converted into recommendations and conflict management tools. This can strengthen the preventive effort with examples of appropriate behavior in conflict situations, Marie Rosenkrantz Lindegaard explains.

She is associate professor at the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Copenhagen and has just received a DKK three million grant from The Danish Working Environment Research Fund for the research project.

Tools for employees

The researchers employ methods with surveillance- and body camera footage in order to investigate conflicts of varying degrees of threats and violence.  

- This will be the first project to provide a systematic and interaction-focused perspective on behavioral patterns during work-life conflicts, Marie Rosenkrantz Lindegaard says. She will conduct the research together with assistant professor Lasse Suonperä Liebst, postdoc Richard Philpot, and research assistant Camilla Bank Friis from the Department of Sociology.

The research group has in a previous project analyzed the role of bystanders in violent conflicts with the use of camera footage. In the new project they will focus on the role and behavior of the employees in the conflicts.

On the basis of the project's findings, the researchers will together with the partners develop a number of toolboxes, that contain conflict management tools with examples of what employees can do to avoid threats and violence when in conflict with citizens. The aim of the project is to improve the work environment of prison guards and fare conductors.

Contact: Associate Professor Marie Rosenkrantz Lindegaard, mrl@soc.ku.dk, tel. 35 33 19 07