Research Paper

Topics: Child abuse, Domestic violence, Human sexual behavior Pages: 16 (3353 words) Published: May 31, 2014


The Correlation Between Child Maltreatment & Juvenile Delinquency Liberty University
April 6, 2014

Research suggests that there is a correlation between child maltreatment and juvenile delinquency. The findings indicate that children, who have experienced abuse or neglect during childhood, are at increased risk of committing crimes in adolescence. A substantial number of children enter the juvenile justice system with a history of abuse, with approximately one third of these adolescence are actively associated with a child welfare agency at the time of their initial arrest. This paper attempts to establish a clear definition of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, as well as, neglect, while also reviewing a pattern of subsequent delinquency. The effects of racial, ethnic and gender differences in criminal behavior will be explored. A collaborated effort among youth serving agencies is discussed as a method of prevention of child maltreatment and future delinquency.


Juvenile delinquency is a serious public health concern. Throughout literature, child and adolescent maltreatment are consistently identified as powerful predictors of juvenile and adult crime. In 2009, law enforcement agencies arrested approximately 1.9 million persons under the age of 18 “ (Ryan, Williams, & Courtney, 2013, p.454). There is a long tradition of studying parenting, child relationships and adolescent delinquency; however the association between parent-child relationships and criminal offending during young adulthood is less understood (Johnson, Giordano, Manning, & Longmore, 2011, p.786). It is important to understand the correlation between the two in an effort to help find ways to provide resources and assist with preventative measures to help reduce child maltreatment and subsequent delinquency.

Maltreatment Types
Child maltreatment can occur in any household regardless of the economic or social status of the parents. The types of abuse takes several forms and the focus of maltreatment that is relative for the purpose of this paper include: physical, emotional, sexual abuse and neglect. Abused children are more likely to be fussy, resistant to control and not readily adaptable to new situations. The children have more headaches, stomachaches, experience bed wetting and are generally more anxious and may also show signs of developmental delays. Feldman (2014), reports that three and four year olds and fifteen to seventeen year olds are somewhat more likely to abused by their parents than children of other ages (p. 255).

Physical Abuse
Physical abuse is defined by the Department of Child and Family Services as a physical injury which is inflicted by other than accidental means on a child by another person. Physical abuse includes deliberate acts of cruelty, unjustifiable punishment and violence towards the child such as striking, throwing, biting, cutting and twisting limbs (DCFS, 2009). Corporal punish is a widely used form of discipline in the United States. Results from a nationally representative sample indicate that a little more than one third of parents report hitting their infant (less than 1 year old), 94% report hitting toddlers (3-5), and although rates decline after this age, 70% of parents report using corporal punishment with children aged 9-12 and 30% still report using it with children aged 13-17. Additionally, there is reason to believe that these forms of punishment may be more harmful among an adolescent population than in younger children (Evans, Simmons, & Simmons, 2012, p.1096).

Research suggests that many times those who abuse children were themselves abused as a child. According to the Cycle of Violence...

References: Feldman, R. S. (2014). Development across the lifespan (seventh ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson.
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