Juvenile delinquency school failure and dropout in Portugal : drafting a picture in different voicesAna Cardoso
, Heloísa Perista
, Paula Carrilho
, Mário Jorge Silva
, 2013, original scientific article
The purpose of this article is to address and discuss the relationship between different school paths and self-reported young students’ behaviours and perceptions regarding violence and delinquency. Their views on prevention deserve particular attention. This is though a picture drafted in different voices, since young students’ opinions contrast with those of several other actors in the domain of juvenile delinquency.
This analysis is based on the YouPrev project findings in Portugal, generated by the different empirical data collection instruments employed, thus combining a quantitative and a qualitative approach. Gender differences as well as differences between urban and rural regions are highlighted whenever relevant.
School failure and dropout is a structural problem in Portugal and some expert views anticipate a reversal in recent trends and a new rise of these phenomena as a result of the current crisis. The YouPrev school survey outcomes in Portugal confirm that young people with negative school integration have a higher life-time prevalence of self-reported delinquency.
Among the 1,755 young students surveyed, 29.4% reported they had committed, over their life-time, at least one of the offences listed in the questionnaire. 156 of these students reported that they had committed a violent offence during the last twelve months. Among these, 46 may be described as frequent violent offenders. The concentration of risk factors among the frequent violent offenders shows that these are also victims of other forms of violence in the context where they live in.
Young people share the idea that “what works” best in the prevention of juvenile delinquency is to improve their prospects to get a job and to provide them a good general education.
Both in the rural and in the urban regions the relationship between young people and the family is seen as crucial either by experts or by the young boys and girls.
Research Limitations / Implications:
Self-reported delinquency surveys attempt to overcome insufficiencies of the official statistics – these surveys open the possibility to obtain more diverse information and to identify delinquent practices that are not registered. But one of the possible criticisms is that, in these kinds of studies, chronic and persistent delinquents are not represented. In this particular analysis, information is missing for those students who skip school and those whose parents, for different reasons, did not give consent to their participation in the survey.
The conduction of expert face-to-face interviews complemented the prospective information collected by the Delphi study, compensating and enriching the relative low number of responses to the survey.
The outcomes promote the awareness-raising on juvenile delinquency and prevention strategies among different actors: experts, schools, and young students. These can also be used as training material for professionals, working in social services and police forces, in particular.
This study contributes to the body of knowledge on the practices and views within the domain of juvenile delinquency and violence. This is a research topic insufficiently explored in Portugal, at least in a comprehensive way, either in terms of subjects or territorial coverage. It also adds to existing research with crossed views, based on a multi-method approach, on the interplay between school failure and dropout and juvenile delinquency and prevention.
Keywords: juvenile delinquency, violence, prevention, school failure, Portugal
Published in DKUM: 20.04.2020; Views: 856; Downloads: 30
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