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The Relation Between Abuse Neglect And Delinquency

Essay, Research Paper The Relation between Abuse, Neglect Delinquency ABSTRACT This research paper is to make known the problems of maltreatment, and the affects the individual is made to deal with. This needs to be taken into account when there is a delinquent act performed. This is not an excuse that should be used for all delinquent acts though.

Essay, Research Paper

The Relation between Abuse, Neglect

And

Delinquency

ABSTRACT

This research paper is to make known the problems of maltreatment, and the affects the individual is made to deal with. This needs to be taken into account when there is a delinquent act performed. This is not an excuse that should be used for all delinquent acts though. Parents need to realize, they brought this child into the world and now it is there duty to raise them with proper values and morals. The child needs to be looked after, making sure there is no unnecessary harm being done to him/her.

I believe that maltreatment does influence an adolescent in becoming a delinquent. The individual learns that this is acceptable behavior from the people that have the most influence in their lives. Once they realize that this is not a tolerated behavior they tend to act out in all sorts of forms, upon themselves and others. They now hold no fear in defying society.

I am gathering some of my data from my own experiences (and others soon to follow) from the Perkins School (Lancaster). This school is a home for the time being for abused children and adolescents. They try to teach the individuals how society works and what is accepted and behavior adjustments. This school does not try to cure them, but to help them understand and deal with their difficulties. The remaining part of my research came from journal articles and books.

In my findings, I am implying that maltreatment affects a child a great deal, most likely for a severe amount of one’s life. The emotions that are built up in the child are going to cause outbursts of anger, confusion, anxiety, hostility and distrust. Depending upon the intensity and the length the maltreatment occurs for assists in explaining the consequences the individual may portray due to the maltreatment.

INTRODUCTION

Do forms of abuse and neglect within the family bring about delinquency among the youth? Presumably, yes, maltreatment does have an influence upon delinquent behaviors. “Maltreatment is referred to as the parental behaviors that are considered acts intended to inflict physical or psychological harm and that reflect a lack of concern for the adolescent’s well-being, sense of self, and social competence.” (Brezina, Timothy) Maltreatment causes neurological damage, deficits in cognitive socioemotional functioning, and learning of antisocial problem solving and failure in school.

Depending upon the severity and length of time of the maltreatment put onto the child determines the level of violent behavior put forth by the juvenile. Severe physical, psychological, and neurological consequences can come about because of maltreatment. These consequences may impair the child’s ability to socially integrate in various ways. Within the last ten years studies have found strong associations between inadequate parental nurture, harsh or erratic discipline, and delinquent or violent behavior in childhood and adolescence. This does not mean that all delinquents were abused or neglected. Some come from what appear to be model homes.

I chose this topic because of a few reasons. Recently I started working at the Perkins School, which is a residential program for abused (physically, sexually, and mentally) children. These children can no longer live with their family in the home. Some of the children do not even have people to call family or a place to call home, except Perkins. Every one of these children have behavioral problems, some more severe than others, due to the trauma they have been through. Seeing how defenseless these children were/are to the abuse and how much it affects their behavior is mind boggling.

Today’s society seems out to punish the delinquents for their behavior. But does society look at the whole picture? Life at home, their morals and values learned through their parents should also be examined as well. Children are like clay, what is molded and pounded into them hardens and is that way until it is melted and restructured. People need to take into consideration how they were raised and what was taught to them their whole life. Yet, there are exceptions to this. Some children just have problems brought about on their own.

LITERATURE REVIEW

The article “Adolescent Maltreatment and Delinquency: The Question of Intervening Processes” in the ‘Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency’ brings out competing expectations for the maltreatment-delinquency association in delinquents through the use of data from a national survey. The three criminological theories: social control theory, social learning theory, and social-psychological strain theory help in accounting for this relationship. The findings discuss the need for a more general and complex understanding of the adolescent maltreatment-delinquency relationship.

The quality of parent-child interactions holds significance in this study. Negative treatment toward the adolescent in the form of rejection and unjust punishment is positively related to the delinquent behavior. The forms of maltreatment that are associated with problem behavior are not limited to the extreme forms of physical abuse. Psychological assaults may be more damaging to adolescents in their social development. Names and threats actually hurt more than ’sticks and stones’.

This article went on to explain the theories that were used in assessing the relationship between the adolescent maltreatment and delinquency. Then the article went on to examine the intervening process. The overview of adolescent maltreatment is: “it gives rise to delinquency because it erodes important sources of social control, fosters deviant socialization, and generates deep-seated feelings of anger” (Brezina, Timothy).

In the ‘Social Science Journal’, there is a review of the book: Child Abuse and Delinquency, which provided a connection between child abuse and the early onset of delinquent behavior. The author of the book points out that there are factors other than abuse that causes delinquency. There is not a direct relationship between the two. More indirect factors such as environmental, legal, social and psychological factors are involved.

It was found that older children who experienced prior childhood abuse had significantly higher rates of delinquency. The severity of abuse did not impact or predict the rate of delinquency. Different social and cultural experiences affected the rate of delinquency. The length of abusive experiences is very important when reinforcing and constructing social bonds.

I also went through the book titled The Child Abuse-Delinquency Connection, which talked about the victim of abuse and his view. At first he thought all families were like his, he had no idea of the world beyond home and school. He started to get a clue that what was going on at home was not normal at the age of eight. He didn’t really understand it, but sensed that other kids were not being treated the same way. When he did realize the maltreatment was wrong, he lashed out against everything, including himself. He does not believe the abuse was justification for the delinquent acts he engaged in. Through treatment he says he has turned his weaknesses into strengths.

METHODS

When acquiring sources for review and preparation of this paper, I went to the college library. I went to the computers in the reference section and began researching different journals I could look in. Then I found a few books that also seemed could help my research on this topic. The types of information I found in the journals were national survey data, book reviews, and basic articles about the relationship between abuse and delinquency. I also took into account the little knowledge I have learned working at the Perkins School. All of these children have behavioral problems due to maltreatment. Seeing the children struggle in trying to get through a day without a behavioral outburst of some sort is difficult to take in. These children have not had a healthy environment to grow up in and have so much anger built up inside. Certain influences bring back terrible memories, which eventually cause an emotional breakdown.

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

Through this research I have found that maltreatment affects children and their behaviors a great deal. I believe in treatment for these children, but I wish treatment was not needed. Of course this would only happen in a perfect society. Punishment is not always the correct way in intervening with delinquents. Intervening needs to start with the parents understanding on raising a child. I was pretty sure that abuse played a role in delinquent behaviors before I went into this paper. If maltreatment is what the child has grown up with and around, then this is how the child knows how to respond to situations encountered. Weaknesses I found in one of the procedures, is that the studied group was of only boys, and in another they only did a one time survey when they probably should have studied the group over a period of time.

DISCUSSION or IMPLICATION

My research comes down to maltreatment being put on a person (child or adolescent) can and does lead to delinquency. Maltreatment is not always the only cause of delinquency though. This is sometimes an excuse used in certain juvenile court cases. A question that was not answered for me involved similarities or differences among males and females that result in delinquency due to prior maltreatment. Future research could possibly include more diverse samples.

Adolescent maltreatment has a significant and negative effect on parental attachment. The levels of parental attachment do not predict subsequent delinquency problems though. Adolescent maltreatment brings about delinquency because it consumes important sources of social control, fosters deviant socialization, and generates ingrained feelings of anger.

My conclusion is formed on the basis that maltreatment leads individuals to view deviance and aggression as justifiable forms of behavior. Maltreatment generates negative affects, which pressures individuals into delinquency. The children do not always realize the abuse that is being given is wrong or that not everyone goes through this. Maltreatment has discouraging factors all around that are put upon the child and affects the thought in his or head of what is right and wrong.

REFERENCES

Brezina, T. (1998). “Adolescent Maltreatment and Delinquency: The Question of

Intervening Processes.” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency. 35(1) 71-100.

Cohn, A.W. (1996). “Juvenile Focus.” Federal Probation. 60(4) 55-58.

Goleman, D. (1995). “Early Violence Leaves Its Mark on the Brain.” New York

Times. C1, C10.

Peters, R., Mcmahon, R., (1996). Preventing Childhood Disorders, Substance Abuse,

and Delinquency. Sage Publications: London.

Sandberg, D, N. (1989). The Child Abuse-Delinquency Connection. Lexington

Publications.

Siegal, L., Senna, J. (2000). Juvenile Delinquency Theory, Practice, and Law. 7th

Edition. Wadsworth.

Stanley, D, L. (1998). “Book Reviews.” Social Science Journal. 35(3) 473-476.

Widom, C, S. (1996). “Childhood Abuse and It’s Criminal Consequences.” Society.

33(4) 47-54.

Bibliography

REFERENCES

Brezina, T. (1998). “Adolescent Maltreatment and Delinquency: The Question of

Intervening Processes.” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency. 35(1) 71-100.

Cohn, A.W. (1996). “Juvenile Focus.” Federal Probation. 60(4) 55-58.

Goleman, D. (1995). “Early Violence Leaves Its Mark on the Brain.” New York

Times. C1, C10.

Peters, R., Mcmahon, R., (1996). Preventing Childhood Disorders, Substance Abuse,

and Delinquency. Sage Publications: London.

Sandberg, D, N. (1989). The Child Abuse-Delinquency Connection. Lexington

Publications.

Siegal, L., Senna, J. (2000). Juvenile Delinquency Theory, Practice, and Law. 7th

Edition. Wadsworth.

Stanley, D, L. (1998). “Book Reviews.” Social Science Journal. 35(3) 473-476.

Widom, C, S. (1996). “Childhood Abuse and It’s Criminal Consequences.” Society.

33(4) 47-54.

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