Katrine Barnekow Rasmussen

Katrine Barnekow Rasmussen

Assistant Professor


My primary research interests are criminology, crime prevention, youth crime, restorative justice and practice, and conflict management. My overall focus is how the welfare state addresses crime. Furthermore, I am very invested in promoting a clearer link between research and practice.
Current research foci:
1. Understanding political and police approaches to vulnerable residential areas in a Nordic context.
2. Testing restorative practice as a tool for lowering employees' use of force and improving well-being of youth and employees in two secured institutions.
Postdoc focus (2020-2024):
Examining presentation and practice of the restorative aspect in the Danish Youth Crime Boards
I examine this restorative aspect of the legislative framework of the boards, as well as how it is put into practice by the boards and perceived by board members.
The restorative aspect of the Youth Crime Boards is primarily related to the socalled instant reactions. Not only does the legislative framework appear unclear on this aspect, it also does not align with recognized international definitions of restorative justice, the principles of which the verdicts of the boards should be in line with.

My survey among board members displays a notable uncertainty regarding appropriate instant reactions as well as rather varied connotations of how restorative character should be understood in this context. Furthermore, so far instant reactions are very rarely used by the boards.

Board members and management suggest that the restorative aspect of the board can be understood as a wider restoration of the young offenders' lives by engaging them in a meaningful plan to avoid reoffending. However, based on my observations of board meetings I conclude that overall, with the current framework and approaches the boards are not succesful in engaging the young offenders in a restorative way.

The Danish political level displays dissatisfaction with the limited usage of instant reactions to date. Initiatives are on the way to  address this point, including a catalogue of ideas for possible instant reactions. I question whether this approach will actually take the practice of the boards in a more restorative direction. Instead, I suggest looking towards Norway for inspiration on this matter.

PhD focus (2015-2020):
In some forms, restorative processes have been demonstrated to have a positive effect on desistance for offenders as well as on recovery for victims. However, the path to participating in a restorative process can vary immensely depending on the framework of the responsible organisation. I have been interested in exploring mechanisms related to the shaping of access to restorative processes.

My investigation focuses primarily on the Danish VOM programme and secondarily the Norwegian Mediation Service. The two services are both called Konfliktråd in the respective national languages and the establishing of the Danish programme was heavily inspired by the Norwegian service making the Norwegian Service an obvious case for comparison. In the Norwegian data set, my main focus is on the processes of referring to the two types of restorative youth sanctions implemented nationwide since July 2014 and to be executed by the Mediation Service.

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