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NCJ Number: 219153 Find in a Library
Title: Gender and Runaways: Risk Factors, Delinquency, and Juvenile Justice Experiences
Journal: Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice  Volume:5  Issue:3  Dated:July 2007  Pages:308-327
Author(s): Kimberly Kempf-Leonard; Pernilla Johansson
Date Published: July 2007
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Washington, DC 20531
Texas Office of the Governor
Austin, TX 78701
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined a variety of risk factors in order to identify patterns and gender differences among runaway youth charged with a status offense.
Abstract: The findings support previous research in showing that girls were more often brought to court for runaway status offenses than boys. More runaway girls had been victims of child abuse, including sexual abuse, than other girls who had contact with the juvenile justice system. Runaway girls also had higher rates of substance abuse problems and gang involvement compared with boys; these behaviors might have developed after running away from home. The findings also support the concern that at least some runaway girls engage in prostitution, theft, forgery, and fraud. The juvenile justice response to runaway girls was an informal caution against further offending, after which girls were sent home and court involvement with the girls was discontinued. The risk factors of child abuse, substance abuse, gang involvement, foster care, and other group living situations were factors for runaway boys just as they were for runaway girls. Juvenile justice interventions with runaway boys, even controlling for other offending, was somewhat more restrictive than it was for girls. Still, juvenile justice interventions with runaways were minimal and did not reflect attention to child abuse in the setting from which they ran away. Although interventions should be tailored to gender-specific needs of runaways, both runaway girls and boys also need caring, professional intervention that provides assistance in setting boundaries and acting responsibly. Assistance must also be provided in family dynamics and supervision of the youth's residential placement, whether in the home or elsewhere. Study data were obtained from all arrest referrals for a juvenile justice system in 1 of 4 counties in a metropolitan area in Texas between 1997 and 2003 (n=6,473). 6 tables, 80 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Child abuse as delinquency factor; Juvenile status offenders; Male female juvenile offender comparisons; Runaways
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