Child Abuse

In numerous studies conducted by Farrington (2002), clear links were found between child abuse, neglect and later emergence of delinquency in general and of violent offending in particular. Once again this often boils down to learning and modeling, if a parent uses violent and abusive tactics to control their children, the children will view these as effective ways of dealing with conflict. Also noteworthy here is the Cycle of violence as it is often the most abused children that become abusers themselves. If a child only learns aggressive tactics he/she has no alternative emotional responses to situations.

Social Deprivation and low Socio-economic Status Social deprivation, low SES households, poor housing and poor access to local amenities all add to family stress. Delinquency has been linked to families that are stressed. The stress of having no access to decent education, jobs, housing and social support creates an enduring mood within the household that puts everyone under pressure. “numerous socio-economic factors predict a child’s later antisocial behaviour, including low family income, large family size, poor housing, a teenage mother, dependence on welfare benefits, and unemployed parents. For example in the Cambridge Study, low family income, large family size and low socio-economic status, were important childhood predictors of chronic offending and antisocial personality at age 32 (Farrington, 2000, cited in McGuire, 2004).

Psychological Predictors

Psychological disorders in children such as Conduct Disorder (CD), Oppositional defiant Disorder (ODD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)contribute to the eventual development of Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) in adults and the presence of APD in adults is a strong predictor of criminal engagement. “Types of behaviours involved in APD include property crimes such as burglary, violent crimes, drug use, heavy drinking, drunk or reckless driving, sexual promiscuity, spouse or partner abuse, child abuse or neglect, repeated lying or conning” (Farrington & Gunn, 1985). Personality features of this disorder also include, impulsiveness, lack of planning, selfishness, lack of remorse or guilt feelings, low frustration tolerance and high aggressiveness. These are all personality traits often associated with delinquency.

The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology defines Conduct Disorder as “a general psychiatric classification encompassing a variety of behaviour patterns in which the person affected repetitively and persistently violates the rights, privileges and privacy of others” and defines Oppositional Defiant Disorder as a developmental disorder marked by defiant, hostile and negativistic behaviour…” (2001).

Children with CD, ODD and ADHD are all more likely to be involved in delinquent behaviour. Hyperactivity in children characterized by fidgety, restlessness, boredom, inability to sit still, inability to pay attention to social cues, lack of concentration is a good predictor of later delinquent behaviour. Usually children with ADHD and specifically Hyperactivity symptoms are easily bored and thrill seekers therefore often engage in activities impulsively without thinking through consequences. “Motor restlessness as rated by kindergarten teachers, was a better predictor of delinquency between ages 10 and 13 than lack of pro-social behaviour and low anxiety” (Farrington, 2004).

Peer Group Influences

Peer group influences are a much later predictor in delinquency and are more often preceded by biological, family and psychological influences. It is sometimes hard to determine how much peer influences play a part in delinquency, whether peers are able to truly pressure individuals into delinquent deeds or whether ‘birds of a feather flock together’. In the Cambridge Study, 75% of chronic offenders had highly delinquent friends at age 14 (Farrington, 2003).

Various factors are involved in peer delinquent behaviours and these include but are not limited to peer pressure, allegiance to a delinquent peer group and fellow peer delinquent behaviour. If a child only socialized and associates within a delinquent peer group the delinquent involvement may become the norm. Peer delinquency though does not exist on its own and is often compounded by low academic achievement, low SES factors, environmental influences, biological factors and family situations.

So although peer influences on their own do not seem to determine the likelihood of delinquent behaviour, the climate in which these children grow up does have an effect and it is often these types of children that form peer groups. Interestingly though to note is that withdrawal from a delinquent peer group has an important influence on desistence in delinquent youths and this perhaps shows the weight of influence a peer group has on an individual. Child Delinquents seldom act alone and having accomplices in their delinquent behaviour makes them more likely to display such behaviours.

Child “abuse is commonly recognised as any behaviour towards a child that causes harm to that child in some way. This behaviour may be deliberate, or the parent may not be aware of the affects of their behaviour.” (Flynn, H. …

May involve hitting, shaking, throwing, burning, poisoning, drowning, suffocating, and any physical harm to a child. This may also be caused by parents/carers or known adults who may also make up symptoms of illness. Signs and Symptoms Indicators and behaviours …

The Pennsylvania Child Abuse Laws is defined under code section 23&6303. When a certain act causes non-accidental serious physical injury, serious physical neglect constituting repeated or prolonged lack of supervision, sexual abuse or exploitation or failure to provide essentials of …

Children are increasingly sexually abused by members of the same family. Significant research studies have been conducted on the issue of sexual abuse with analysis carried out from all angles. The documentation available about sexual abuse reveals several devastating effects …

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