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.
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.
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.
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.
Due to the under-representation of females, public officials have paid less attention to understanding their offending or to developing and assessing prevention and intervention strategies for them. Attention to female offenders is now considered important because their numbers are growing in all spheres of criminal justice. This article explains what is currently known about girls and their juvenile justice experiences. It discusses the difficulty that exists in identifying gender bias because of the nature of juvenile justice processing. It then describes data sources about the offending patterns of girls and boys and examines how gender appears to affect juvenile justice processing. Following this, the article identifies difficulties for girls in access to treatment and services. It highlights deficiencies in knowledge about female-specific treatment. Finally, it gives recommendations for an integrated framework to assist in learning more about the problems girls face and ways to make their experiences with juvenile justice systems successful.
Catrien Bijleveld, Chantal van den Berg, and Jan Hendriks
Juvenile sexual offending is often regarded as a precursor of serious and continued sexual offending in adulthood, but there has been little empirical evidence supporting this assumption. Could juvenile sexual offending be just a ‘passing phase’? The study discussed in this essay follows the criminal career about 1,600 juvenile sex offenders from early adolescence into adulthood. A comprehensive view of the entire criminal career is presented to establish whether juvenile sexual offending is a precursor of continued (sexual) offending in adulthood or if (sexual) offending is non-chronic for most. The sexual recidivists in the sample are identified, and this group is used to establish the risk factors associated with continued sexual offending. These risk factors are compared to the ones used in risk assessment instruments for (juvenile) sex offenders. This study holds crucial information for policy and theory regarding juvenile sex offenders.