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NCJ Number: 170879 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Social and Economic Stress, Child Neglect and Juvenile Delinquency
Author(s): D Weatherburn; B Lind
Corporate Author: New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 63
Sponsoring Agency: Criminology Research Council
Canberra ACT 2601, Australia
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research
Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Publication Number: ISBN 0-7313-1130-2
Sale Source: New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research
Level 8, St James Centre
111 Elizabeth Street
Sydney NSW 2000,

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This Australian study examined how much of the effect of economic and social disadvantage on aggregate-level variation in crime can be explained in terms of their effect on rates of child neglect and/or abuse.
Abstract: The measures of neglect and abuse were based on alleged neglect or abuse reported to the New South Wales Department of Community Services. The measures of juvenile participation in crime were based on appearance before the Children's Court for property or violent offenses. Socioeconomic data were obtained from the "Community Profile," a set of tabulations of 1991 census data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The data were analyzed separately for urban and rural areas. The main method of analysis was fitting linear regression models. A path analysis was also undertaken. The study tested four hypotheses. First, there is a positive relationship between an area's level of social and economic stress and its level of juvenile participation in crime. Second, there is a positive relationship between an area's level of social and economic stress and its rates of child neglect and abuse. Third, the effects of social and economic stress on juvenile participation in crime are mediated mostly through the effects of social and economic stress on rates of child neglect and abuse. Fourth, the relationship posited in the third hypothesis holds up for participation in both property and violent offenses. By and large, the four hypotheses are all strongly supported by the urban analyses. There were a number of differences between the results of the rural and urban analyses. The most notable are the lower correlations between all pairs of relevant variables; the fact that in the presence of single parent families and crowded dwellings, neither of the economic stress measures (poverty and unemployment) are significant predictors of abuse, and the fact that single parent families and crowded dwellings explain only a small proportion of the variation in rates of neglect and abuse. Further, a much smaller proportion of the variation in juvenile participation in crime could be explained in rural areas. These findings highlight the importance to long-term crime prevention of reducing the level of poverty and unemployment, enhancing the social supports available to those who face poverty and unemployment, and using early intervention programs known to improve the quality of parenting behavior. 12 notes, 104 references, and a list of offense types included in the study
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Child abuse as delinquency factor; Child abuse causes; Economic influences; Foreign criminal justice research; Social conditions
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