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NCJ Number: 202364 Find in a Library
Title: Sexual Abuse, Family Violence, and Female Delinquency: Findings From a Longitudinal Study
Journal: Violence and Victims  Volume:18  Issue:3  Dated:June 2003  Pages:319-334
Author(s): Veronica M. Herrera; Laura A. McCloskey
Date Published: June 2003
Page Count: 16
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This document discusses the effects of three forms of childhood victimization on self-reported delinquency and aggression in adolescent girls.
Abstract: It was hypothesized that all three forms of childhood victimization would have a direct effect on subsequent delinquency in adolescence. Victims of childhood sexual abuse will be at a particularly increased risk for running away from home. Running away would increase the risk of participation in other forms of delinquency, potentially mediating the relationship between abuse and delinquency. Witnesses of marital violence and victims of child physical abuse would be more likely to engage in violent delinquency in adolescence. Victims of child physical abuse would be more likely to perpetrate violence against their parents. The study was based on 2 series of interviews with 141 mother-daughter pairs that took place over about 6 years, between 1990 and 1997. Measures were marital violence, child physical abuse, and child sexual abuse (first series). Measures were running away, nonviolent delinquency, violent delinquency, and violence against parents (second series). The results show that 60 percent of all girls in this study were exposed to at least one form of measure abuse. Half were exposed to multiple forms of abuse. The proportion of girls involved in delinquent behavior increased as exposure to multiple forms of abuse increased, from 30 percent (no abuse) to 77 percent (all three forms of abuse). These results suggest that girls experiencing multiple forms of abuse are at an especially high risk of delinquency. It was found that only age predicted girls’ running away from home. Results indicated that sexual abuse emerged as the sole predictor of both self-reported nonviolent and violent offending. Physical abuse in childhood uniquely predicted girls’ violence against parents, which supports the theory that a significant proportion of girls’ violence is a reaction to their own history of violent victimization. Sexual abuse seems to have an important impact on women’s life course and needs to be incorporated into studies of female delinquency and crime. 8 tables, 34 references
Main Term(s): Female juvenile delinquents; Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Aggression; Home environment; Juvenile delinquency research; Juvenile delinquent family relations; Juvenile Delinquent-nondelinquent comparisons; Psychological victimization effects
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