Research proposal- tiffanny

Does a history of child abuse leads to a greater risk of juvenile delinquency?
Statistics on the topic
Juvenile crimes are crimes committed by children who are aged below 18 years, and who
are considered not to be adults. Consequently, six hundred thousand minors are reported to cycle
through juvenile detentions. Furthermore, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has said that in
2002 alone, over seven hundred thousand youths were members of street gangs, while U.S.
Department of Justice (2013) indicates that 1.8 million children are arrested annually for crimes
like loitering and even murder. On the other hand, child abuse is also on the rise. Like in 2015
about one thousand six hundred children died from child abuse in the U.S (National Children
Alliance, 2015). In the same year, over three hundred thousand victims of child abuse were
supported by the Children’s Advocacy Center. What is evident is that, while the numbers of
children being abused are increasing so does the number of children that are engaging in crimes.
This assertion is plausible because U.S. Department of Justice (2013) has noted that the Federal
Interagency alongside Child and Family Statistics has recorded increasing number of juvenile
cases. In fact, their prediction is that by 2050, the number of juveniles might reach 106 million.
The two statistics on the increasing number of child abuse and the growing number of youths
raise the question as to whether there is a relationship between these two incidences (National
Children Alliance, 2015). Furthermore, researchers are interested in understanding whether child
abuse is a primary reason behind child crimes.
Additionally, National Children Alliance (2015) has pointed out that the child
maltreatment is likely to double up the probability that the child might at some point engage in
crime. There are also other factors that have been pointed out by some scholars such as
unemployment and decreased wages as a reason for juvenile delinquencies. Even so, these
statistics have only given lower figures. For instance, Finkelhor et al. (2009) found that when
unemployment is reduced, the rates of juvenile crimes only decrease by 2.2 percent. In this
research proposal, the researcher is as such interested in determining if there is a relationship
between child abuse and juvenile crimes so that a different approach can be used to deal with
child crimes.
Some experts in the social science field have developed various theories that have been
used to explain the connection between child molestation and juvenile crimes. Among the most
commonly used approaches are the Social Learning Theory, Social Control Theory, Social
Psychological Strain Theory and Social Control Theory. These theories explain that there is a
connection between childhood violence and molestation on an individual and their engagement
in crimes (Akers, 2017). Social Learning Theory, for instance, holds that children can become
violent or behave violently because they imitate what they see. The theory further indicates that
when the children witness that acts of violence can result in positive outcomes such as the
acquisition of materials, control over others and social benefits. Social Control Theory, on the
other hand, believes that the behaviors towards crime and evil are natural to the human an even
control over such violent and criminal practices are made possible when people maintain their
social bonds such as being in a family. When these relationships are interfered with, then
children are likely to likely to engage in crimes when their guardians maltreat them (Akers,
2017). Social psychology on its part looks at child abuse and moderation as the primary reason
why people have acute stress. Consequently, most research has studied the connection between
child abuse and resulting issues such as a child’s misbehavior or criminal tendencies. Further,
these studies have revealed that child abuse can also cause developmental delays as well as
changes in the way the child’s brain functions. When these changes happen, then an individual
can respond to the environmental stimuli differently. The bottom line of these studies is that
maltreatment on children is likely to make a child engage in risky behaviors or develop
aggressive tendencies.
According to Laub and Sampson (1993), in their article have documented that there are
increased chances that children who have been abused when they become teens encounter post-
traumatic stress and at this stage, they then develop aggressive behaviors and desires to commit a
crime. Even though there are no studies that have tried to connect child abuse to economics,
there is evidence that when an individual is abused and rendered unable to be productive, it is
possible that the economy is disrupted (Akers, 2017). In other words, if maltreatment reduced the
accumulation of human capital, then there is a high likelihood that the economy will be impaired.
In the end, it is essential to examine how child abuse as an incident in the children’s lives could
be a factor that causes juvenile crimes. Based on the theories mentioned, the researcher is
researching with the aim of proving the theories right.
Purpose of the Research
The purposes of this research are three major ones which are to prove whether the
theories that explain why child abuse can cause crimes are right. Such understanding will
increase the knowledge that experts in the criminal justice have about causes of criminal
behaviors among children. Secondly, this research is aimed at understanding if child abuse is a
real and primary cause of juvenile delinquency. Such knowledge is very significant to
stakeholders involved in child upbringing. Finally, it aims at revealing how social environment is
critical to child development and unusually aggressive behaviors among adolescents.
Importance of the study
Knowledge is power and knowledge as power can be used to find solutions to problems
that are persistent in the society. Therefore, this study shall be of great importance because it
shall be used as a source of knowledge and it shall educate officials in the criminal justice
systems on causes of crimes among children. With this experience, these professionals shall seek
for other approaches apart from incarceration as a means to deal with criminal children. Parents,
guardians and other stakeholders involved with child development also shall use this knowledge
to help children grow in a proper environment to reduce the number of young criminals in the
This study is also essential because it shall also help to prove that the theories that have
been used by experts to explain why children engage in criminal behavior will be established to
be plausible. Therefore, using this research and other studies done by other experts in this field,
scholars can further build on their research having examined some of the areas that have not been
covered within this topic.
Literature review
The United States Statistics on children have indicated that the level of child molestation
has increased. National Children Alliance (2015) has put the figures at about three hundred
thousand child abuse cases annually. Additionally, U.S. Department of Justice (2013) has
indicated that there are cases where children die out of child abuse and the figure range of
1.8million children who have lost their lives due to maltreatment. National Children Alliance
(2015) and U.S. Department of Justice (2013) have done their studies on child abuse even though
they have not indicated any relationship with crimes among the children. Currie and Tekin
(2012) on the other hand has suggested that another issue facing children is the rise of criminal
tendencies and aggression. On this incident, National Children Alliance (2015) has indicated that
the rate of crimes among the children has also increased. U.S. Department of Justice (2013)
explains that about 1.8 million children are being arrested annually due to criminal activities. In
fact, this study goes on to indicate that there is a likelihood that in 2020, about 108 million
children will be engaged in crimes every year. While National Children Alliance (2015), U.S.
Department of Justice (2013) and National Children Alliance (2015) have done their studies and
given the statistics on the rates of child abuse and crime among children, they have not tried to
tie any relationship to the two. However, there is a trend that every scholar can a see is taking
shape form these studies that, the rates of child abuse are increasing as the rates of crimes among
the children are also increasing. This is where the need to determine the relationship emerges.
Another study conducted by Heyman and Slep (2002) has on its part revealed that there is
a connection between social problems in the lives of children and the maltreatment that such
children undergo. This study further indicates that more than half a million children are victims
of abuse and sometimes also die. This corresponds to the research done by (National Children
Alliance, 2015). This study then goes further to examine how child abuse can cause social
problems such as aggression, bullying and even lack of self-esteem. In this study, Heyman and
Slep have indicated that the when children are molested and mistreated during childhood, they
can either bear the aggression and desire to express their anger on other individuals during their
teenage and so that is what causes aggression during teenage. For instance, a male child that was
abused by a female guardian or parent might have hatred for women and hence engage in
aggressive behaviors such as rape. Furthermore, Heyman and Slep (2002) clarifies that in some
cases, the children are likely to register in their mind that such aggressive actions are normal and
acceptable. Consequently, even though Minh et al., (2013) does not directly tie the child
maltreatment to crimes the studies correlate with the theories that explain the reason for crime
among the children. Furthermore, it is clear that aggressive tendencies are likely to lead to
criminal tendencies like the example of rape that has been given. It is as such clear that child
abuse has a secure connection to incidences of crime.
The ideas shared by Heyman and Slep (2002) are similar to the ideas proposed by Parrish
(n.d.). In this case, the author, however, has concentrated on the Battered child syndrome and
examined the way in which such psychological, medical situation can cause children to be
aggressive or also engage in child abuse themselves. Pezeshki et al. (2015) in support of this
approach has also indicated that there are many cases where the child abusers have been
recorded to have a history of battered child syndrome. The abused child syndrome in this
instances has been used in the study to examine how it impacts the behavior of the abuser. In this
case, therefore, the author, Parrish (n.d.) has concentrated on the abuser as the subject. In this
study again, the author has not directly indicated whether the individuals under investigation had
been found to engage directly in other criminal behaviors apart from abuse. As such, the study
does not explain why children would participate in burglary, murder or other crimes. Even so,
there is still a connection that the survey by Parrish (n.d.) and Pezeshki et al. (2015) have in
common, is that they are all in agreement that the social problems that children go through can
be a reason for their way of behavior during their teenage. Finally, Anderson and Dill (2000) for
his part has focused a lot on juvenile crimes to be resulting from children’s exposure to abuse. In
this case, the researcher does not look at child abuse as a directly inflicted pain on the child but
considers that even the exposure of a child to aggressive and criminal tendencies can cause
children to engage in crimes. This study is in line with the social theory of crimes Social
Learning Theory. This theory explains that people learn to commit crimes by relating with those
that commit crimes (Anderson & Dill, 2000). As such a child that is raised in a family where the
parents and siblings committed crimes is likely to emulate such behaviors. In the same way, if a
child is exposed to violent acts they are also expected to engage in the same. In other words,
child abuse has a direct connection to cases of crimes.
The current research is focused on examining the role that child abuse and maltreatment
play about crimes among people aged below 18. As such, the analysis shall look at child abuse as
a reason for crimes among children making the hypothesis to be as follows: Child abuser causes
juvenile crimes.
Independent Variable
In this study, there are two variables. The independent variable, in this case, is Child
abuse or maltreatment. It is independent because in the survey it is seen as the underlying reason
behind the resulting scenario.
Dependent Variable
The dependent variable, on the other hand, is the juvenile criminal behavior. A dependent
variable is that variable that occurs as a result of being caused by the independent variable.
Therefore, it is expected that child abuse is what causes crimes.
Research design
The research hall consider a child or juvenile as anyone aged below 18 years
During this study, child abuse shall be considered as any maltreatment or harmful
behavior towards a child that is aimed at hurting them physically, emotionally and
psychologically. This can also involve, and it will concentrate more on physical harm. To get
such records, the researcher will rely on databases of agencies that deal with child abuse.
Moreover, in some cases, the data shall be physically collected from these agencies’ offices.
Juvenile crimes, on the other hand, shall be considered as any form of aggressive
behavior that is intended to or that which causes harm to any persons. This can include bullying.
However, the research shall focus more on crimes such as burglary, murder, and rape among
other offenses.
Through interviews done in correctional facilities and other mental health centers, the
researcher shall collect information on the childhood of the juveniles under study. In some cases,
the researcher shall obtain the information form close relatives of the child criminals. All report
shall be made confidential and kept and accessed by the researcher only.
Using quantitative analysis, the data shall be examined to see, the number of instances
when children who have engaged in criminal behaviors have at one time or the other been abused
during childhood. With such data, a determination shall be made as to whether the number is
sufficient enough to conclude that the hypothesis that Child abuser causes juvenile crimes is
Akers, R. L. (2017). Social learning and social structure: A general theory of crime and
deviance. Transaction Publishers. London, U.K
Anderson, C. A., & Dill, K. E (2000). Video games and aggressive thoughts, feelings, and
behavior in the laboratory and in life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology;
Currie, J., & Tekin, E. (2012). Understanding the Cycle: Childhood Maltreatment and Future
Crime. The Journal of Human Resources, 47(2), 509549.
Finkelhor, D., Turner, H., Ormrod, R., Hamby, S., and Kracke, K. (2009). Children’s Exposure
to Violence: A Comprehensive National Survey. Bulletin. Washington, DC: U.S.
Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention.
Heyman R.E., & Slep A.M.S. (2002). Do child abuse and interparental violence lead to
adulthood family violence? J. Marriage Fam;64:864870. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-
Laub, J., H., & Sampson R., J. (1993). Turning points in the life course: Why change matters to
the study of crime. Criminology.;31:301325. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1993.tb01132.
Minh, A., Matheson, F. I., Daoud, N., Hamilton-Wright, S., Pedersen, C., Borenstein, H., &
O’Campo, P. (2013). Linking Childhood and Adult Criminality: Using a Life Course
Framework to Examine Childhood Abuse and Neglect, Substance Use and Adult Partner
Violence. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 10(11),
National Children Alliance (2015) National Statistics on Child Abuse. NCA. Accessed from:
Parrish, R. (n.d.). Battered Child Syndrome: Investigating Physical Abuse and Homicide. Psyc
EXTRA Dataset. doi:10.1037/e317922004-001
Pezeshki, A., Rahmani, F., Ebrahimi Bakhtavar, H., & Fekri, S. (2015). Battered Child
Syndrome; a Case Study. Emergency, 3(2), 8182.
U.S. Department of Justice (2013). Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency prevention: Law
Enforcement and Juvenile Crimes. Accessed from:

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