Juvenile Offending Among Maltreated Youth: Assessing Type-Specificity and Offense Specialization in the Cycle of Violence

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This study assesses how different forms of abuse and neglect are associated with juvenile offending, with specific emphasis on whether youth commit offenses analogous to the illicit parental behaviors to which they were exposed. Using statewide child welfare system data linked with juvenile offending records, we assess rates and types of offending among a cohort of youth exposed to child maltreatment, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect (N = 7,787). Findings suggest that the maltreatment-delinquency link is better characterized as a general rather than a specific cycle of violence, though sex abuse victims tend to specialize in sex offending. Youth exposed to physical abuse, moral neglect, and parent incarceration offend at high rates overall and should be prioritized for prevention and treatment services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCrime and Delinquency
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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