Cycle of Violence: Child Abuse & Juvenile Delinquency

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  • 0:04 Child Abuse
  • 0:35 Categories of Abuse
  • 1:20 Child Abuse Statistics
  • 1:52 Child Abuse & Delinquency
  • 2:38 Research Indications
  • 3:35 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Millicent Kelly

Millicent has been teaching at the university level since 2004. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and a Master's degree in Human Resources.

The number of child abuse cases that are reported on an annual basis is alarming. This lesson will examine whether a link exists between child abuse and juvenile delinquency that perpetuates the cycle of violence.

Child Abuse

Eric is a 15-year-old teen who is serving a three-year sentence in a juvenile detention center for assaulting and injuring a former classmate at school. Eric admits to having anger issues. During a therapy session, he tells his counselor about the physical abuse he faced at the hands of his father for as long as he can remember. Eric's counselor is not surprised that Eric suffered physical abuse, since many of the teens he deals with who act in a violent manner towards others report similar histories.

Categories of Abuse

Almost three million cases of child abuse are reported and investigated in the United States on an annual basis; approximately 700,000 are substantiated. The four primary categories of child abuse include:

  • Child sexual abuse, or abuse that is sexual in nature and can include child pornography, fondling, and rape.
  • Child physical abuse, which involves hitting, kicking, biting, and otherwise physically abusing and injuring a child.
  • Child neglect, or failing to provide for a child's basic needs and a safe and protected environment to grow up in.
  • Child emotional abuse, which includes constantly insulting or putting down a child verbally.

Child Abuse Statistics

The following are some child abuse statistics that have been reported:

  • More than 1,500 abused children die from injuries related to that abuse each year; that's about five children per day.
  • Most abused children are abused by someone they know.
  • Both boys and girls are abused at approximately the same rate, with girls mistreated at a slightly higher rate.
  • The younger the child, the greater the likelihood of abuse.
  • Of the four types of child abuse, child neglect is the most prominent and reported.

Child Abuse & Delinquency

Research conducted by various individuals over the course of time seems to indicate that there's a relationship between child abuse and juvenile delinquency. Juvenile delinquents are underage youths who are arrested for engaging in criminal acts that violate the law. It's estimated that children who suffered abuse at an early age are at approximately a 60% increased risk of being arrested as adolescents, hereby giving support to what is referred to as the cycle of violence.

The cycle of violence is an informal theory that suggests that those who are treated violently or poorly, will mistreat others in similar ways at a later age. The cycle of violence is often referred to in cases of domestic abuse where one partner repeatedly abuses the other.

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