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Type: Theses
Title: An investigation of the association between child abuse, neglect and youth offending in South Australia
Author: Malvaso, Catia Gaetana
Issue Date: 2017
School/Discipline: School of Psychology
Abstract: The association between childhood exposure to maltreatment and the subsequent development of delinquent or criminal behaviours is well established. However, in Australia, there have been few longitudinal studies that have examined this association. Therefore, the overarching aim of this thesis was to explore the maltreatment-offending association in an Australian jurisdiction. To provide context for the empirical work which follows, this thesis commences with two systematic reviews of prospective and longitudinal studies that have examined the maltreatment-offending association. The objective of the first review was to critically review the design and methodological features of studies and how these features influence conclusions drawn. The second aimed to synthesize the evidence for different maltreatment and out-of-home care (OHC) placement factors, as well as other individual, social and contextual factors, shown to play a role in explaining associations between maltreatment and offending. The second part of this thesis then summarises the findings of a data linkage project based on administrative and survey data obtained from South Australia’s child protection and youth justice systems. These findings are set out in three studies. The primary aims of these three studies were: 1) To determine the overlap between child protection and youth justice involvement in South Australia; 2) To determine how substantiated maltreatment and variations in these experiences (i.e., the type, timing and recurrence of maltreatment) related to overall convictions; 3) To explore the extent to which placement in OHC and variations in these experiences (i.e., the type of care, timing of placements and their duration or stability) related to different types of convictions (i.e., violent, property, drug and breach offences); 4) To explore how gender and ethnicity moderated the maltreatment-offending association; and 5) To investigate the role of maltreatment and placement variables on violent convictions after controlling for other known individual and social correlates of crime. Findings from the first study indicated that, compared to a general population estimate, the odds of having a conviction were significantly greater for individuals for whom child protection notifications or substantiations were made, and for those placed in OHC. The strongest predictors of convictions among maltreated young people were: male gender, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ethnicity, physical abuse, maltreatment recurrence, persistent maltreatment and placement in OHC. In the second study, gender, ethnicity and placement factors were found to moderate the relationship between maltreatment and convictions, although associations varied systematically according to the type of conviction examined. The findings from the third study demonstrated that demographic factors (male gender and Indigenous ethnicity), maltreatment factors (physical abuse and persistent maltreatment), family background factors (household conflict) and individual characteristics (anger and aggression) were all strongly associated with violent convictions. Findings from this thesis point to the complex and multifactorial nature of the maltreatment-offending association. It is clear that a collaborative and integrated response from both the child protection and youth justice systems is needed in order to prevent and treat the consequences of maltreatment and reduce offending behaviour among young people.
Advisor: Delfabbro, Paul Howard
Day, Andrew
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Psychology, 2017
Keywords: child maltreatment
child protection
youth justice
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
DOI: 10.4225/55/5ad5c7f0df2c4
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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