Adolescent Crime and Victimization: Sex and Gender Differences, Similarities, and Emerging Intersections
This essay examines sex/gender differences and similarities in offending and victimization among young people. Gender differences are pronounced for violent behaviors and smaller for minor property crime. Females have a greater risk of sexual victimization, while males have higher rates of other types of victimization. The essay examines how these patterns are influenced by status characteristics such as race, ethnicity, neighborhood, country, sexuality, immigration status, and social class. It also reviews a number of classical criminological explanations for sex/gender differences and similarities—general strain theory, social and self-control theories, symbolic interactionist perspectives, and social learning theories—as well as several intersectional approaches, including feminist perspectives, power-control theory, and relational schema theory. The essay concludes with a discussion of directions for future research.
Jennifer L. Woolard
Some form of delinquency is a normative part of adolescence for a majority of teens, yet the consequences of risky behavior and juvenile justice involvement can be severe. This article focuses on important aspects of adolescent delinquency and justice processing. It examines the cognitive factors which develop during adolescence, which illustrate that adolescents appear to perform comparably to adults by about the age of sixteen. Following this, it examines psychosocial factors of susceptibility to peer influence and future orientation and their continued development in the adolescent period. It also reviews the developing challenge of regulating emotions and affective responses that continues well into young adulthood. Finally, placing adolescents in their ecological context, it makes an attempt to describe how unique relationships between adolescents, parents, and the state present challenges for adolescents that no other age group faces in the legal system.
Simon I. Singer
Delinquency in adolescence is a known precursor to adult criminality. Nonetheless, the delinquencies of adolescents are generally considered irrelevant to adult white-collar crime. This chapter reviews reasons for why adolescence might matter to explanations of white-collar offending. It begins by defining white-collar delinquency as an act of fraud committed by a middle- or upper-class adolescent in his or her educational, familial, or workplace setting. Class, age, and gender are significant determinants of white-collar delinquencies. The chapter concludes with several cases of white-collar delinquency and survey data on its incidence.
Scholarship on race, crime, and justice often remains gender blind. Researchers cannot fully understand the influences of race and racism without serious consideration of its gendered dimensions. Distressed minority communities in urban settings have disproportionate rates of violence against women. Structural, organizational, and cultural characteristics heighten gendered risks, including high rates of other crime; male domination of public community spaces; environmental features of neighborhoods; the reluctance of community members to intervene in violence, including the mistreatment of women and girls; acute distrust of the police; and the dominance of cultural norms that support gender inequality and the sexual objectification of young women. Such violence is a critical social problem in need of careful theoretical and policy attention, and is an integral facet of the gendering of racial inequality.
David J. Harding
Disadvantaged neighborhoods can affect criminal behavior, increasing the risk of late-onset juvenile delinquency even for young people not otherwise at risk of delinquent behavior due to their individual characteristics and family circumstances. Growing up in a disadvantaged neighborhood has been linked to other negative adolescent outcomes, such as dropping out of high school and early childbearing, but the mechanisms by which neighborhood disadvantage affects individual outcomes are less well understood. A study drawing on in-depth, unstructured interviews with 60 adolescent boys in three Boston neighborhoods seeks to understand how neighborhood-based violence affects the social and cultural context of a boy’s neighborhood and how this context in turn affects his decision making and outcomes. Two interrelated features of poor urban neighborhoods are critical mechanisms underlying neighborhood effects on adolescent boys: neighborhood violence and cultural heterogeneity. These mechanisms generate institutional distrust, bonds of mutual protection, cross-cohort socialization, negative role models, and the leveling of expectations.
Important research focuses on why thousands of young men and women join youth gangs, but much can be learned from looking at a single life in order to understand ways individuals manage to leave gang life behind them, in this instance by Christian conversion. This life story, told in an effort to decipher its structure and its sources of efficacy, is of Julio, a born-again, ex-gang member who grew up in Los Angeles, California but has since been deported back to Guatemala. His story provides a window into Christianity’s relationship to hemispheric security by exploring the growing world of Central American gangs such as Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio Dieciocho (18th Street) from the perspective of gang ministry. Julio’s story joins a growing conversation about Central American gangs and the efficacy of Christian conversion.
Case Study: Black Cannabis Dealers in a White Welfare State Race, Politics, and Street Capital in Norway
An ethnographic study of a group of young black men dealing cannabis at a drug scene called The River in Oslo demonstrates that accumulation and use of street capital can be seen as responses to processes of social and economic exclusion. In Norway, as elsewhere, many immigrant youths are marginalized by ethnic discrimination, racism, lack of education and job opportunities, and immigration policy. Street capital is a means to gain respect, status, and money. The concept is inspired by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu and highlights how street culture becomes embodied and emphasizes the practical rationality involved when marginalized youths become involved in crime. Street capital is upheld by and embedded in gangster stories, but the young men also see themselves as victims. There are ongoing shifts between gangster- and oppression discourses; neither represents the “true story” of these men. Ethnographic study of street dealers’ language use demonstrates the complex relationship between street culture and a benevolent Nordic welfare state.
Dana Hayward and Ross E. Cheit
Child sexual abuse is a significant moral, legal, and social problem. Approximately 5 to 8 per cent of adult men and 15 to 20 per cent of adult women in the United States experienced sexual abuse during childhood or adolescence. This essay provides an overview of major issues and debates concerning child sexual abuse, focusing primarily on the United States. It covers the prevalence of child sexual abuse, its effects on victims, why some individuals are more resilient than others, when and how victims of CSA disclose their abuse, the phenomenon of recantation and what it says about the credibility of abused children, how the judicial system deals with child sexual abuse, and how child sexual abuse can be prevented. The essay concludes by reflecting on the important relationship between scholarship and policy in the field of child sexual abuse research.
Friedrich Lösel and Doris Bender
This article studies child social skills training, which can be easily implemented by teachers in schools or preschools. This training aims to prevent antisocial development in children, which may ultimately lead to criminal behavior in the future. The discussion begins with a brief conceptual and theoretical background of child social skills training. It is then followed by a description of some leading child skills programs, such as the I Can Problem Solve (ICPS) and Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS). Finally, this article considers the effects and effectiveness of these programs.
This essay explores key questions emerging from recent research with children who experience commercial child sexual exploitation. It examines the discrepancies between children’s right to be protected from all forms of violence, including sexual violence, and the right to express their views. Child protection has traditionally focused on protecting younger children from sexual abuse in the home, so a conceptual shift is needed to embrace the needs of older children who are making their own decisions about how to respond to and manage adversity. The author proposes a child protection system that understands the various forms of exploitation of children in public spaces and within the informal economies of drug and sex markets. The author argues for a ‘social model’ for contextualizing consent to sexual activity that takes into account the economic, social, and environmental pressures on young people.