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Ethnicity and Gender Issues (From Child Delinquents: Development, Intervention, and Service Needs, P 247-269, 2001, Rolf Loeber and David P. Farrington, eds. -- NCJ-207774)

NCJ Number
Kimberly Kempf-Leonard; Meda Chesney-Lind; Darnell F. Hawkins
Date Published
This chapter examines gender and race as factors in child delinquency (ages 7-12).
The chapter begins with an assessment of current knowledge about the extent of gender and race differences among adult and older youth offenders. The authors critique the sources of data used to measure offending rates and competing views on the causes of gender and race differences in offending. The chapter then examines data on child delinquents and the distinctive developmental issue associated with their delinquency. Examples illustrate how what is known about correlates of criminality among older female and minority youth and adults may contribute to an understanding of developmental factors in child delinquency. This is followed by a more detailed discussion of current knowledge about factors in race and gender differences in early-onset offending. Regarding race as a factor in childhood delinquency, although specific race-related factors have yet to be clarified, it is likely that the racial biases that permeate the social and economic features of American society will interact with other factors to contribute to social adversity that affects young minority children. Regarding gender as a factor in child delinquency, the distinctive social conditioning that prevails for females reaches into the early years. There is evidence that girls are more sensitive than boys in reacting to the lack of emotional bonding with parents and peers, and they also must cope with traditionally more restrictive parental management. Sexual abuse is also more likely to be experienced by girls. Recommendations for research are offered. 4 tables