ESR12 Sophie Litvak

University of Helsinki
Supervised by Prof. J. Kivivuori
I look into religion and hate victimization among youth: contexts, consequences and adaptive strategies.

Project Synopsis

Project title: Religion and Hate Victimization among Youth: Contexts, Consequences and Adaptive Strategies.

Religion remains a source of meaning for billions of people in today’s world. For many, religion is a crucial part of their identity, which sets the guidelines for their way of living, form of communicating, their dress code and behaviour. Being a member of a religious group can be a source of protection as well as a source of risk, depending on the level of prejudices against the group. The connection of religion to youth crime victimisation therefore addresses the need to study the matter. This project examines how religious affiliation and beliefs are linked to crime victimisation among young people while focusing on victimisation risks in different places, national/international contexts, as well as online/ offline spheres. The possible consequences of religion-based victimisation in terms of revenge will be also examined. Additionally, it will be explored how religious youth navigate in social environments, including the social media, to avoid risky situations, hate-based attacks, and crime victimisation. The role of externally visible cues in triggering hate-motivated attacks against religious identities will be studied as well. Furthermore, the impacts of the religious neighbourhood on religious-based youth victimisation as well as religious disaffiliation as a possible risk factor will be explored. 


Sophie Litvak is a PhD candidate at the university of Helsinki, Finland. She obtained her master’s degree in international Criminology from the university of Hamburg, Germany. In her master’s thesis, she examined via an online factorial survey the intention of individuals to break a rule when presented with the opportunity. The results of this paper were later presented in the European Society of Criminology conference. During her masters, Sophie worked in an experimental lab for economic experiments, where she took the role of the laboratory assistant and later on, as the examiner. Throughout her masters, Sophie also worked as a research assistant at the faculty of Criminology, focusing on counterterrorism politics, situational awareness and material translation. She holds a BA in Sociology and Law from the University of Hamburg, Germany. Sophie is honoured and excited to be a part of a Network that aims to understand and combat the spread of hate across Europe.