This report outlines research on girls' delinquency sponsored by the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and describes OJJDP-sponsored programs that focus on girls' delinquency.
OJJDP has long supported research on understanding girls' delinquency, particularly through its Girls Study Group, an OJJDP research project that has investigated the roots of and solutions to girls' delinquency. The Girls Study Group is a team of multidisciplinary experts that consists of sociologists, psychologists, criminologists, gender studies experts, researchers, and practitioners with legal and girls' program development experience. Among the issues addressed by the team are which girls become delinquent, the factors that protect girls from delinquency, the factors the put girls at risk for delinquency, the pathways that lead to girls' delinquency, programs that are most effective in preventing girls' delinquency, and how the juvenile justice system should respond to girls' delinquency. The Group's initial findings suggest that girls are not more violent than in the past, and they engage in far less crime and delinquency than boys for nearly every offense. Also, mandatory arrest policies and other changes in the juvenile justice system have led to higher arrest rates for girls. Among the protective factors for girls are a close relationship with a caring adult, school connectedness, school success, and religiosity. Risk factors include early onset of puberty, sexual abuse or maltreatment, and depression and anxiety. Four OJJDP-sponsored programs that focus on girls' delinquency are briefly described. They include a program that helps girls and their incarcerated mothers maintain their relationships; a program that provides delinquent girls with opportunities to participate in activities that promote positive social development; and a program that deters school withdrawal, juvenile delinquency, teen pregnancy, substance, abuse, and welfare dependency. Resource suggestions
Date Published: February 1, 2010