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Child Abuse - Prelude to Delinquency?

NCJ Number
E Gray
Date Published
75 pages
Recommendations are offered for policy and future research into the child abuse-juvenile delinquency link. These recommendations were the end result of a conference that examined and synthesized the empirical literature on this association.
The literature review suggests that child maltreatment (particularly when broadly defined) is associated with juvenile delinquency (particularly when narrowly defined). The links appear to be causal in both directions. They also may be the result of a common etiology in disrupted, ineffectual families and may be related to culturally based practices that legitimate family violence, decrease social control in adolescence, and support institutional practices that respond punitively to adolscent reactions to family disruption. On the basis of these results, research is recommended that clarifies the nature and extent of the abuse-delinquency link, the efficacy of intervention strategies, and the nature and effect of differing systems responses. Policy recommendations took an incremental approach, advocating interdisciplinary cooperation, improved social history-taking, educational and therapeutic interventions, treatment within the correctional system for abused delinquents, mobilization of citizens to prevent child abuse, and early intervention. Interactions between researchers and policymakers and dissemination of information also were espoused. Appendixes include a list of participants, remarks from sponsoring organizations, and a conference agenda.