Juvenile Crime, Criminals, and Victims

1. A middle school in your area has decided to conduct a victimization study alongside a self-report survey that it administers every year. Since delinquency has increased steadily over the past few years, these surveys are of interest because many believe that victimization may be the partial cause of students’ delinquent behavior.

2. The survey asked the juveniles about family violence and other negative factors in their upbringing; those who took these anonymous surveys were remarkably candid. The survey responses report that:

  • 51% of the juveniles report having been hit repeatedly or beaten at least once during childhood;
  • 48% reported seeing a sibling hit repeatedly or beaten at least once during childhood;
  • 38% saw their parents or guardians take drugs at least once;
  • 71% saw their parents or guardians drunk at least once;
  • 21% of the girls reported some level of sexual abuse;
  • 12% of the boys reported some level of sexual abuse.

3. Based on these findings, and based on what you have read about the various causes of delinquency, explain whey you do (or do not) feel that these juveniles are more likely than the average child to:

  • abuse alcohol or drugs.
  • commit violent crimes.
  • commit property crimes.
  • commit status offenses, like underage drinking or smoking.
  • commit sexual offenses.

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