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Transitions and Turning Points: Examining the Links Between Child Maltreatment and Juvenile Offending

NCJ Number
Child Abuse & Neglect Volume: 32 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2008 Pages: 51-66
Anna Stewart; Michael Livingston; Susan Dennison
Date Published
January 2008
16 pages
This study examined the impact that timing and chronicity of child maltreatment have on juvenile offending.
The study found that when children moved from primary to secondary school was when they were likely to experience maltreatment. Four of six identified maltreatment trajectories peaked around the children’s school transitions. The study also found that maltreatment trajectories were a significant predictor of juvenile offending. The findings support previous research findings from Smith et al., 2005; Thornberry et al., 2001. The study provided new insights to assist in unraveling the relationship between timing and frequency of the maltreatment and subsequent offending as a juvenile. Understanding the relationship between maltreatment and school transitions provides an opportunity to target intervention programs to help the children. Strategies should include family support and education around school transitions to help parents support and manage their children through these critical times. Specific programs should be used to target the needs of Indigenous young people and adolescent girls. Data were obtained on all children born in Queensland, Australia in 1983 or 1984 and had contact with child protective services for at least one child protection matter n=5,849. Information was obtained until the child reached the age of 17. The data was analyzed using the Semi-Parametric Group-Based trajectory analysis (Nagin, D., and Land, L. 1993). The children’s gender and Indigenous status and the nature of maltreatment were examined. Figure, tables, references