Abstract and Keywords
The most basic definition of violence is behavior that is intended to cause, and that actually does cause, physical or psychological injury. This article reviews what is known about childhood predictors of youthful violent offending. It focuses on knowledge gained in studies of individual offenders. It begins by reviewing the development of violent offending, including prevalence at different ages, continuity, and specialization or versatility in offending. Following this, the article reviews knowledge about major individual, family, and socioeconomic risk factors. It also investigates how accurately violent offenders can be predicted in childhood. It focuses on knowledge gained in major prospective longitudinal studies of offending, discussing risk and protective factors. These results are likely to be useful in developing risk assessment instruments. Finally, the article discusses the major policy implications and calls for early prevention instead of later treatment in the juvenile and criminal justice system.
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