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Vandalism among adolescents A comparison of European countries

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  1. LOGO LIEGE Vandalism among adolescentsA comparison of European countries C. Gavray ULG (Liège, Belgium) N. Vettenburg UGent (Gent, Belgium) 10th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology Liege - 8th to 11th September 2010

  2. Different explanations of vandalism • Urban problems: Ghettoïsation of certain districts, cankers urban,…. • ‘broken window’: degradation asks degradation > vulgarizing of the act > feeling of impunity of the authors • Social vulnerability and disorganization • Feelings of uncentainty >choice for an alternative way • Development elements: marks their territory (graffiti, tags), identity research, .. • Invite further reseach of the explanatory factors of the vandalism on available data

  3. ISRD2Second International Self-Report Delinquency Study • Data collection 2006/2007 • More than 30 participating countries • Already several national and comparative publications • In this contribution: 6 European countries in comparison (Belgium, ….)

  4. Different groups of factors (i.e., demographic, family, school, peer, self-control, attitude to violence scores as well as lifestyle related factors) were inserted blockwise into separate logistic regression models to explain ‘vandalism’ • Odds ratios were used to assess whether, other things being equal, youths with specific characteristics are more or less likely to engage in delinquent behaviour than those in another (reference) group.

  5. West-Europa Table 1: Odds ratios of logistic regression for vandalism on demographic, family- and social environment-related, individual descriptors and lifestyle variables

  6. Interesting results… but are the same factors explicatif for vandalism by girls and boys?

  7. Contribution of the gender theory to refine this question • the gender theory accentuates the cultural characteristics and not the congenital differences and hierarchy between male and female. In that, these differences, in particular as regards delinquent behavior, are likely to change through time, within sight of the context and of the opportunities offered to the two groups (boys & girls)

  8. Focus on Belgium • Belgian data ISRD2 (UGent/ Ulg): 2247 young people of the three first years of the secondary school (12 to 15y.) • Questions on behavior but also on various aspects of the family life, school, the values, the leisure time, etc.

  9. Explanatory factors of ‘vandalism – ever’ totally group • R2 explained .40 p < 0.001 • Gender • Feeling to be discriminated • Alcohol consumption and another products • Type of education • The evaluation of the neighboorhood • Victim (last 12 months) • To lose appetite • Have no impact: the size of the city, broken home, attachment to school, control and family support, academic success (own evaluation), values or prospects, psychosocial wellbeing

  10. Explanatory factors of vandalism boys • R2 =.69 p < 0.001 • Delinquent friends • Positive attitude to violence score • Time spent with friends • Exposition to violent school environment score • Feeling to be discriminated • Low self-control score • Alcohol consumption or other products • problems of relations with his/her mother & father • Serious disease/accident of one of his/her parents

  11. Explanatory factors of vandalism girls • R2= 0.62 p < 0.001 • rather attend a school in a big city than in a medium-sized city • bad school results and relational problems with the teachers • Victim (last 12 months) • On wellbeing • Painful life events (loss a brother, sister…) • Alcohol consumption or other products • The evaluation of the neighboorhood

  12. Another research on the impact of the proximity compared to the opinions and stereotyped attitudes from the point of view of gender (data collected for the French Community, 2010) Did you ever damage on purpose something`gratuitement' 15.6% of the boys and 6.9% of the girls (against 15.5% and 6.3% in ISRD2) => concording data concerning boys and girls

  13. For boys • Bond between vandalism and + a low self-control + a valorization of the male stereotypes: . legitimacy of the force and violence as well as unconditional presence in public space . a desire of domination on sexual and emotional matter, . a hierarchy between school matters and male and female professions. => the risk of vandalism is found for example related to a disinterest and a bad success in language, a course devalued in this group because regarded as female

  14. + an important effect of discrimination and injustice felt from the society, adults and in particular from the parents. In the group of young people whose parents never give pleasure or are never interested in the follow-up of the school results : 40% of the boys commit vandalism + an important tendency to indiscipline on school and absenteeism + an effect of the lack of future perspectives which results in a lack of school and professional ambition

  15. For girls • no higher appreciation for power and violence by girls who made themselves guilty to vandalism • > another logic • important relation with + the score of victimisation, living, both inside and outside, with a feeling of oppression : increased risk of vandalism with rebellie against the parental requirements and against excessive parental control . school performances and the relationship with the teachers ( When this climate is very bad: 18% girls concerned with vandalism against less than 9% by better climate) . Contrary to the boys, in an historic gap with regard to the disillusioned boys, contemporary girls invest school and academic success as a chance of personal and family promotion. The behaviour we talk about is correlated with a difficulty to take advantage of this historic opportunity

  16. no higher appreciation for power and violence by girls who made themselves guilty to vandalism • > another logic • important relation with • the score of victimisation, living, both inside and outside, with a feeling of oppression : increased risk of vandalism with rebellie against the parental requirements and against excessive parental control • school performances and the relationship with the teachers. When this climate is very bad: 18% girls concerned with vandalism against less than 9% by better climate

  17. Conclusion • Good consistency between the results of the different countries with regard to the breeding ground of vandalism • Need for better understanding in comparison what supports the vandalism of the girls and the boys • By the boys: traces of experienced victimisation under an identity in school and work context which seems to them unfavourable

  18. • By the girls: traces of a more personal insecurity (because of family events, of school failures, confrontation to degraded places), all that together with a somatization These findings are: • Interesting for the comprehension of the phenomena and formulation of theories • Important for policy: both for prevention and cure