Family Deliquency and Crime Define Term Paper

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In fact, many studies show that deviant or antisocial children may experience a strengthening of the bonds between parents and society in the process of their development.

Therefore, while social control theory is one view, there are many alternative theories that take other findings and variables into account. In general, the view that a deviant child who does not change by a certain age is "condemned "to a life of crime if sharply criticized, as it often does not concur with empirical findings. Theories put forward by Gottfredson and Hirsch propose another view of the life-course towards crime that takes into account the fact that in many case early deviant behavior does not necessarily lead to a life-long pattern of criminal behavior.

Question 4.

Describe the labeling theory and the consequences that labeling can have on a child. Should we be concerned with labeling? Why or why not?

In essence, labeling theory refers to the way that legal and other institutions organizations 'label" or categorize people as being deviant or criminal. While these organizations label people as a result of the process of law, incarceration and rehabilitation, many theorist contend that this labeling in fact increases or exacerbates the individuals involvement in criminal activities.

Labeling theory in criminology is a view of the criminal not as a separate individual but as a group or a certain category or "types" of individual. Therefore, Labeling Theory states the fact that certain groups of people are 'labeled' as criminals, instigates criminal behavior.

Labeling Theory was a child of the 1960s and 1970s, which saw criminals as underdogs who initially did something out of the ordinary, and then got swept up in a huge, government-sponsored labeling or shunning reaction. It argues that anyone facing such an overwhelming, negative labeling social reaction will eventually become more like the label because that is the only way out for their identify formation.

Crime Theories)

This theory results in the perception of deviance or deviant behavior in sociology and criminology as a reaction to societal norms and pressures. In other words, crime is defined not in terms of individual choice but in terms of social definitions.

Deviance is not a quality of the act the person commits, but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an offender. The deviant is one to whom that label has successfully been applied; deviant behavior is behavior that people so label.

Overview of Labeling Theories)

The reason why labeling theory should be given serious consideration is that it is concerned with the way that individual may be stigmatized by these labels or categories. The contention is that this stigmatization can result in a negative perception and treatment of that individual - which can lead to these persons internalizing that label, developing negative views about themselves, and consequently leading a life of crime or deviance. Therefore, while agencies and organization use labels ostensibly as an attempt to reduce crime, they may in fact be perpetuating criminal propensities.

However, it should also be noted that there are many studies that do not support the views of labeling theory. They state that there is little empirical evidence to support the claim that labeling or categorization leads directly to an increase in crime. This once again brings up the point that there are many variables and aspects that have to be considered in the assessment of the causes of criminal behavior. Nevertheless, labeling theory does provide an important contribution to the understanding of criminal behavior.


Define child abuse and think about its prevalence in the United States. Based on your understanding of families and delinquency, what are two things you would do to address child abuse? Be sure to support your response.

According to a recent report from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), approximately 905,000 children were found to be victims of child abuse or neglect in 2006. (ACF Questions and Answers Support) of this figure "....64.1% suffered neglect, 16% were physically abused, 8.8% were sexually abused, 6.6% were emotionally or psychologically maltreated, and 2.2% were medically neglected" (ACF Questions and Answers Support). This also includes at least fifteen percent who suffered from other forms of abuse, such as "threats of harm to the child," and "congenital drug addiction." (ACF Questions and Answers Support) These figures not only outline the extent of the problem but also show that the term 'child abuse' has many different aspects that need to be included in a comprehensive view of the problem.

While estimates and definitions differ, most States in the country find that the perpetrators of child abuse are parents and other caretakers who have been responsible for harming children. Furthermore, in 2006, it was found that approximately fifty-eight percent of child abuse and neglect perpetrators were women and forty - two percent were men. Of the women perpetrators, more than forty percent were younger than 30 years of age. (ACF Questions and Answers Support). These statistics help to formulate certain basic assumptions; for example, that younger more inexperienced parents and mothers who are less able to deal with personal and internal crisis are the main perpetrators of child abuse.

The term child abuse is in fact defined by Federal and State laws. An often-used reference for defining and dealing with this phenomenon is the Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), which provides the minimum standards that all states most include when defining child abuse. The CAPTA definition describes child abuse as follows:

Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect)

However, the limitations of the CAPTA definition are that it does not provide specifically for types of abuse such as physical abuse, neglect, or emotional abuse. (Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect) Coupled with this is that each State provides its own definition of abuse. While they do vary, all Sates to different degrees recognize that various types of abuse exist. This includes physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. Some States go further and provide statutory definitions for parental substance abuse and for abandonment as child abuse.

What however is of concern is that some States omit certain aspects of abuse from their statuary definitions; for instance, " 11 States and the District of Columbia, financial inability to provide for a child is exempted from the definition of neglect..." (Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect). Another important exemption is that in fourteen States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands, physical discipline of a child is an exception to the definition of abuse, as long as the physical discipline it is "...reasonable and causes no bodily injury to the child" (Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect)

In answer to the question, what are two things you would do to address child abuse, the first aspect that should be addressed it to have a more comprehensive and inclusive definition of abuse that would be conformed to by all the different States. This type of statuary definition that is accepted by the country as a whole would reduce much of the confusion about the parameters of abuse.

However, definitions and legislation should be accompanied by more constructive and preventative measures. As the readings have made clear, the family and the often-complex interaction between child and parent in the family environment is an area that should be highlighted and examined in greater depth. There is a need for parents, schools and other bodies to become more aware of the theories and findings about the way that parental neglect and negative family interaction can lead to forms of child abuse.


ACF Questions and Answers Support. Retrieved April 9, 2008 from dD0mcF9yb3dfY250PTEzJnBfc2VhcmNoX3RleHQ9JnBfc2VhcmNoX3R5 cGU9MyZwX2NhdF9sdmwxPTEwJnBfY2F0X2x2bDI9MzAmcF9zb3J0X2J 5PWRmbHQmcF9wYWdlPTE*&p_li =

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect. Retrieved April 9, 2008 at

Crime Theories. Retrieved April 9, 2008 from NCWC. Web site:

Overview of Labeling Theories. Retrieved April 9, 2008

Simon R., Simon L. And Wallace L. (2004) Families, Delinquency and Crime:

Linking Society's most Basic Institution to Antisocial Behavior. Roxbury Publishing.

The cycle of violence: the role of parental variables in the learning of aggression.

Retrieved April 9, 2008 at

Widom C. Maxfield M. (2001) an Update on the "Cycle of Violence"

National Institute of Justice Research in Brief. Retrieved April 9, 2008 at[continue]

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