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Outline And Discuss Some Of The Possible Causes Of Juvenile Crime.

1602 words - 6 pages

Introduction:Since as early as the 18th Century, there have been many theories as to the possible causes of juvenile crime. Scientific, biological, environmental and economical factors have all been put forward as singular explanations. Modern theorists however feel that one single factor is not likely to be the only answer. Most favour "multiple" factors. Multiple factors is a combination of influences that come into play together throughout the childhood of juveniles and this seems to be the most plausible explanation.The influences that make up the "multiple" factors theory are thought to be combinations of biological, psychological, cultural, economic and political.Below, I will discuss some of these influences that, when present in a child's life, can increase the chances of a child committing a crime.Theories:Family Factors:Children learn from their family. They learn right from wrong from the family around them. Parents and siblings that behave in an unacceptable manner lead to the child believing that this is "normal" behaviour. Research has shown that "children who have anti-social or violent parents are more likely to be anti-social or violent themselves" (p673) 1.Poor parental supervision often means that they do not know where or what their child is doing. They often find out about a child's involvement in anti-social or criminal behaviour via other people.Adding to this, parents that show little or no interest do not reprimand bad behaviour. This lack of discipline means a child does not relate their behaviour with any adverse consequences, and so has no fear of what the outcome of their bad behaviour will be.It has, however, been shown that harsh punishment is a predictor in future convictions. "40% of offenders had been smacked or beaten at age 11" John and Elizabeth Newson (1989, cited by Farrington)2Another indicator that a child may commit a crime is living in a family that already has an offender within it. Studies have shown that "having a convicted father, mother, brother or sister predicts a boys own convictions" Farrington (1996, cited by Farrington) 3Child abuse: Child abuse is a very disturbing fact in our communities. Children suffering this kind of torment in their lives can feel very confused, lonely and frightened, often feeling they have no one to turn to.The effects that abuse can have on the child do include later anti-social and/or criminal behaviour.Abused children tend to leave home, and the situation, as soon as they can. This can lead to them ending up homeless. They may then turn to crime as a way of getting money and, in the case of girls, turn to prostitution. This seems especially true of sexually abused children (p204)4A study by McCord(1983, cited by Farrington)5 found that "about half of boys that had been abused or neglected were convicted of serious crimes became alcoholics, mentally Ill or died before age 35".It has also been suggested that abuse can foster feelings of anger and frustration...

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