This research study investigated the increasing number of violence related arrests of adolescent girls which have become a social concern as it appears that girls today are becoming more violent as compared to boys, which also meant that the gender gap between violence is also closing. The concern over the increase of violence in girls has gathered much attention socially and in the academic circles. However, the data as presented by the Uniform Crime Reports is incomplete as it only identified violence which have resulted to police arrests, the incidence of violence and how it is construed by the girls have not been investigated.
The researchers hypothesized that the increase in violent girls is brought about by the changing social policies of the country as well as a change in how violence is defined. In order to measure the incidence of violence and the perception of the girls towards violence, this study made use of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVM) to identify the sex of the offender and the use of the Monitoring the Future survey and the National Risk Youth Behavior wherein self-reported violence are identified.
The data gathered extended over several yeas making the study longitudinal in design, this was done to establish whether was indeed an increasing trend of female violence and arrests. The UCR data was examined and the number of girls below 18 years old who have been arrested for violent assault was gathered for comparison purposes. Female adolescents who have completed the NCVM and the MFS and the NRYB most recently were also included in the analysis of the data. The study used the normative approach in the analysis of the social issue of increasing girls with juvenile records.
Using the Dickey-Fuller time series and plot displays, the researchers determined that the increase in violence in girls is not actually supported by the records in the UCR. The researchers found out that there a number of reasons why more and more girls are becoming violent as reflected in the recent reports in the UCR. The results of the study indicated that the definition of violence have become more encompassing and which have included behaviors that girls usually do not consider as violent, thus, more and more children are being labeled as a problem child.
Second, the policies about violence have also been extended and have become more apt to define behaviors common to girls as violent. The study has found that the phenomena of violence in girls are actually a social construct and that it is not supported by empirical evidence. The instruments used to determine violent behavior in girls had the same findings that there is really no such thing as an increase in juvenile girls but rather the changes in how violence is defined results to the said increase.
Moreover, it was also found that there is far less increasing trends in the number of violent girls as compared to boys, this further proves that the data as presented by the UCR is not accurate. The researchers conclude that violence in girls have risen because the policies toward violence have changed and it has contributed to the increasing number of ways in which girls can be arrested due to violent behavior which in the past was normative to the general population. The team recommends that the justice system look at the implications of the findings and that more and more girls are turning bad is a myth.
Courtney from Study Moose
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