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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200141 Find in a Library
Title: Focusing on Girls and Young Women: A Gendered Perspective on Female Delinquency
Journal: Women & Criminal Justice  Volume:14  Issue:2/3  Dated:2003  Pages:117-136
Author(s): Barbara Bloom; Barbara Owen; Jill Rosenbaum; Elizabeth Piper Dechenes
Editor(s): Donna C. Hale
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 20
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: To understand the context of girls’ delinquency, this article examines their perspective on the context of their own behavior with a review of the trends in female juvenile offending nationally and the specifics of female juvenile offending in California.
Abstract: Although girls remain a small proportion of the juvenile justice population, arrest, detention and custody data have shown an increase in both the number and percentage of girls in the juvenile justice system. In order to understand the context of girls’ delinquency, this study solicited information on issues pertaining to girls and young women involved in the juvenile delinquency system in California providing a detailed picture of the individual and social factors contributing to risky behavior and delinquency among girls and young women. Focus groups were conducted with girls and young women in 10 California counties from August through December 1997. Information was solicited on factors contributing to delinquency and other risk behavior, types of problems experienced, types of help and services needed, obstacles in seeking help, program gaps and barriers, and effective program elements. Eight findings are presented and discussed which include: (1) family issues contributed significantly to involvement in juvenile offending; (2) sexual, physical, and emotional abuse were significant factors in risky and delinquent behavior; (3) running away from home was often the first step on the pathway to delinquency; (4) substance abuse was often a sign of other problems that led to risky behavior; (5) gang involvement and fighting contributed to delinquency in a small but significant number of girls; (6) adolescent and teen attitudes need to be understood in terms of developmental patterns and needs for independence; (7) school difficulties and negative attitudes toward school contributed to dropping out and other early warning signs of delinquency; and (8) early and inappropriate sexual behavior among girls and young women was related to risky behaviors. It is recommended that initiatives to address female delinquency be based on the developmental, psychological, social, educational, and cultural characteristics of this population with gender appropriate program models addressing a continuum of care and providing comprehensive services. References
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency
Index Term(s): California; Female juvenile delinquents; Gender issues; Juvenile delinquency factors; Juvenile delinquency prediction; Juvenile delinquents; Male female offender comparisons
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