Effects of Child Abuse on Juvenile Delinquency

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The Effects of Child Abuse on Juvenile Delinquency
Tyshenia Gavin
Virginia State University
Dr. Hodgson

Abstract This literature review explores existing literature and scholarship that outlines the effects of early child abuse (2-8 years old) on future acts of delinquency. Literature suggests that a correlation exists between the effects of child abuse and delinquency. Common problematic behaviors are socialization changes and learning abilities from early childhood to adolescence. Studies indicated correlations along with social theories such as the Social Control Theory which is dominant in explaining the relevance of these correlations. Researchers have developed programs such as early
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“Being abuses or neglected as a child increased the likelihood of arrest as a juvenile by 53 percent, as adult by 38 percent, and for a violent criminal by 48 percent” (Widom, 1992). Many children become familiar with the Juvenile Justice System without knowledge of why they continue to commit crimes. Many of them suffered years of being abuses, which caused socialization changes that pushed them to withdraw or act out. This research is important because it shows the long terms effects child abuse has on children that become juvenile delinquents. Statistics show increasing numbers of children who are the victims of child abuse and neglect, although they decrease in delinquency may reflect a greater nation focus on the issue and the use of more effective programs to attack the problem. This research is important to me because the Criminal Justice System doesn’t address the causes of deviant behavior in juvenile delinquents to its full potential. They rather just focus on policing and tough sanctions. Hopefully with this paper and many others child abuse can be prevented along with the long-term effects of child abuse and better programs can be invented to treat child abuse victims. The Office of Justice Programs came up with a “Safe Kids Safe Streets” Program, which acknowledge the correlation between child abuse and juvenile delinquency and is aimed at breaking the cycle of early childhood victimization and later delinquency (Safe
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