“Prominent studies of child abuse and maltreatment point to several unfortunate outcomes for victims as they grow up. Adolescents who were victims of sexual assault are three times more likely to suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder, be abused again be dependent on drugs and alcohol, or commit delinquent acts compared to adolescents who were not victimized, according to a nationally representative sample.
Being abused or neglected as a child increases the likelihood of arrest as a juvenile by 59percent, as an adult by 28percent, and for a violent crime 30 percent according to one study that looked at more than 1,500 cases over time (the researchers matched 900 cases of sustained child abuse with more than 650 cases of children who had not been abused). Findings from another study the Rochester Youth Development Study-funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, suggest a strong relationship between childhood maltreatment and delinquency.
The Rochester study followed a sample of 1,000 urban youth over time. Researchers found that childhood maltreatment was a risk factor for officially recognized delinquency, and moderate self-reported delinquency. Overall, child maltreatment appeared to be a risk factor for officially recognized delinquency, violent self-reported delinquency and moderate self-reported delinquency, Overall, child maltreatment appeared to be a risk factor for more serious delinquency, such as a assaults, but not lesser forms of delinquency, such as underage drinking” (National Institute of Justice, 2011).
A growing body of evidence supports the need for early intervention into childhood development of criminal propensities “ (emn. edu, 2000-2004). Early intervention programs and resources can help to greatly reduce both delinquent and criminal behavior while also addressing child abuse, domestic violence and how family violence can lead children to youth violence and juvenile delinquency and even may lead to becoming adult offenders. CPS programs need to provide more education to the public regarding child abuse and how the public can get involved and take actions to protect children from abuse and neglect.
In order to prevent violence from juveniles programs should be in place that target children 13 to 18 years of age for example, mentoring programs, after-school programs, employment programs, programs to teach youth how to resolve conflicts & anti-bullying programs and these efforts should also include either programs that target families with young children who may be at risk of juvenile delinquency, home visit programs, enriched programs for preschoolers, parenting classes, and both individual and family counseling and therapy programs.
A fair amount of research has been done on the efficacy of juvenile violence prevention programs. These studies show that programs targeting older children, which include approaches such as psychotherapy, peer counseling, or intensive social casework with juvenile delinquents, as well as employment/vocational programs without an educational component are for the most part unsuccessful. However, programs targeting young children and their families have demonstrated promising results.
These successful early childhood violence prevention programs have a set of common characteristics. First, they attempt to ameliorate a variety of factors associated with youth violence; second, they focus on the families of young children; and third, they are long-term efforts lasting more than a few months, often several years: (umn. edu, 2000-2004). Juvenile gangs have become a serious and growing problem in many areas throughout the U. S. It is unlikely that gang control strategies can be successful as long as legitimate economic alternatives are lacking.
Early intervention is the most effective means of diverting at-risk youth into pro-social activities and associations before they seek affiliation with youth gangs. Children as young as eight years old are attracted by the lure of gang membership. Parents, teachers, and concerned others should seek the help of culturally-sensitive and well-trained counselors who can intervene with information and alternatives that address needs for safety, and provide a feeling of belonging, and a sense of power and purpose.
Effective treatment must be culturally sensitive, diverse, and experienced as relevant to the lives of the gang-involved youth. Treatment plans must address the myriad and serious underlying personal and social problems that lead to gang involvement. Young people need information about alternatives to street gangs that can realistically meet their needs in pro-social ways. Treatment for drug addiction, sexual abuse, and other physical and emotional traumas are a perquisite to providing lasting help.
Mental health treatment must address delayed stress issues from repeated exposure and trauma, violence, and economic hardship. Education and training in skills of nonviolent conflict resolution are also important components of a successful treatment plan. Counselors must be skilled, knowledgeable, and trustworthy and able to help the gang-involved youth to examine choices in ways that encourage clear thinking and provide a broader view of potential and possibilities outside of gang life.
Community intervention at the grassroots, neighborhood level, can be an effective first step in a multifaceted approach to prevention of gang involvement. Eliminating underlying social problems that lead to development of youth gangs and strengthening community ties can reduce the influence of gangs and deter gang crime that thrives when neighborhoods fail to work together. Parental involvement with teachers can head off many problems of truancy ,and community education on gang culture will help parents and teachers to identify early signs of gang involvement.
Strong after-school programs that assist working parents meet children’s needs for supervision and provide structured, pro-social activities to young children may reduce attraction to gang-related activities. Former gang members who are willing to serve as mentors and tutors can provide critical positive role models for at-risk youth, an indispensable component to a successful prevention strategy. Job skills training and meaningful employment opportunities will divert many youth from the path to gang membership” (Answers Corporation, 2013). Many of the underlying problems of youth crime and delinquency are directly related to education.
Numerous empirical studies have confirmed that lack of educational success is an important contributing factor in delinquency. “Alternative education programs are one way of providing more specialized educational opportunities for adolescents who are deemed to be “at risk” of dropping out of school or who have exhibited delinquent behaviors (e. g. , Kammoun, 1991; Peebles, 2000); furthermore, it is thought that segregating these students protects others from being subject to their negative attitudes or delinquent acts (Van Schubert, & Rogers, 2000)” (asu. edu, 2003).