Violence/ Young offenders

Violence/ Young offenders


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Youth violence is a major social problem that should be addressed in order to eliminate the negative social effects associated with youth violence (Lai, Zeng & Chu 2015). According to the World Report on Violence and Health, violence involving young offenders refers to involvement in violent behaviour amongst individuals aged between 10 and 17 years (Lai, Zeng & Chu 2015). Alvi (2012) hypothesizes that a young offender entails an individual between 12 and 17 years of age who engage in acts that are contrary to the law.  Therefore, young offenders include individuals aged less than 18 years who engage themselves in crime (Groves & Thomas 2013).

Violence perpetrated by young offenders results in significant costs such as welfare services and health costs, disruption of essential services, and reduction in productivity. Young offenders are both victims and perpetrators of violence (Groves & Thomas 2013). Zhou et al. (2017) emphasise that ‘violence is currently one of the top 20 causes of disability life-adjusted years lost worldwide’ (p. 1). It is estimated that the United States economy loses approximately $37 billion in productivity and health care costs annually as a result of violence (Zhou et al. 2017).  This indicates that violence perpetrated by young people or offenders is a critical issue that should be addressed in order to ensure that the requisite preventative measures are integrated.

Young offenders are exposed to different risks such as incarceration, engagement in illicit sexual behaviour, which exposes them to a myriad of sexually transmitted diseases, and poor educational performance due to a lack of connection with the school environment. Additionally, young offenders are also likely to experience post-traumatic stress disorder (Rajan, Namdar & Ruggles 2014). Additionally, the effects of juvenile violence are not limited to the perpetrator but also affect society in general. Thus, the need to ensure that juvenile violence is eliminated cannot be underestimated. However, in order to successfully reduce juvenile violence, this paper explores the factors that contribute to young people’s involvement in violence.

Background and rationale for the study

            Antisocial behaviour amongst the youth is a common phenomenon in contemporary society. Violence is one of the major aspects that indicate the prevalence of antisocial behaviour (Hubble et al. 2015). Different countries have put efforts to reduce juvenile violence. The United States ranks amongst the countries that have achieved remarkable success in reducing youth involvement in violence. For example, the number of juveniles arrested for involvement in violent offenses in the US has reduced by 55% between 1994 and 2014. Within the same period, the number of youths arrested for involvement in sexual violence reduced by 73% (Zhou et al. 2017).

Despite the fact that efforts made have led to a significant reduction in the incidence of young offenders, the problem still persists across the globe. In China, the rate of crime involving the youth has also increased. Available data indicates that crime amongst the youth and young offenders is increasingly becoming violent, such as murder, rape, assault, and robbery (Huang2012). According to China Statistical Yearbook, over 20,000 youth offenders have been incarcerated in Youth Detention Centres for violent offences from 2000 to 2014 (Yearbook NCCS 2014). The UK is not free of cases of youth involvement in violence. In London, the rate of youth involvement in violence increased by 23% in 2015. The increase was spurred by the prevalence of youth gangs (Tropping 2015). Amongst the notable cases of violence involving the youth documented over the recent past in London relate to the death of a 17-year-old male in Brockley as a result of a car crash while freeing a gang of young men, the shooting of a 25-year-old man in London, and the stabbing of Mohammed Kwenga Dura-Ray, a 16-year-old boy (Tropping 2015). These incidences indicate that violence amongst the youth remains a major social problem.  Identifying the factors that are likely to trigger youth violence is critical in formulating the requisite approaches to prevent youth violence (Hawkins et al. 2000).  A considerable number of quantitative studies conducted in the past associate alcohol drinking with young people’s involvement in criminal behaviour. Jackson-Roe, Murray and Brown (2015) posit that ‘a significant proportion of violent offenders is persistent heavy drinkers’ (p. 77). The relationship between alcohol consumption and involvement in crime has led to the formulation of the Alcohol Myopia Model, which underlines the positive correlation between alcohol consumption and involvement in crime (Jackson-Roe, Murray & Brown 2015).

The prevalence of violence perpetrated by young people constitutes a critical social issue that should be addressed in the quest to promote social cohesion and development. Rajan, Namdar and Ruggles (2014) emphasises that violence perpetrated by young offenders is closely related to other forms of violence experienced in society. Kumsa et al. (2013) are of the view that ‘witnessing violence in the home or being physically or sexually abused, may condition children or adolescents to regard violence as an acceptable means of resolving problems’ (p. 3). Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the factors that trigger violence amongst young people are adequately understood. Failure to deal with violence perpetrated by young offenders may lead to loss of social stability. The UK has formulated the multiculturalism project, which is intended at promoting social cohesion amongst different communities in the UK.  The rationale of the multiculturalism project is to enhance the development of nationalism in order to promote the country’s stability (Keddie 2014). However, the prevalence of violence might negatively affect the achievement of the intended goal.  Understanding the issues that increase the occurrence of violence amongst young individuals will play a fundamental role in formulating and implementing measures that will reduce the violence perpetrated by young offenders.

Aims and objectives of the study

This study will focus on exploring the factors that contribute to involvement in violence amongst young people. The study will specifically focus on violence amongst young people in the UK.

To achieve the intended purpose, the study will focus on the following objectives.

  1. To evaluate the factors that increase young people’s involvement in violence.
  2. To examine the impact of violence perpetrated by young offenders on society.
  3. To explore the measures that can be implemented in order to deter violence amongst young offenders.

In line with the above research objectives, the research study will focus on responding to the following research questions.

  1. What factors contribute to the increase in young people’s involvement in violence?
  2. What impact does the violence perpetrated by young offenders have on society?
  3. What are measures that can be implemented in order to deter incidences of violence amongst young offenders?

In the process of responding to the above research questions, this research study will seek to either refute or affirm the following null and alternate hypothesis

Null hypothesis; involvement in violence amongst young people are triggered by external factors.

Alternate hypothesis; external factors do not influence the development of violent behaviour amongst young people.

            The study’s findings will be significant to a number of stakeholders. First, the study’s findings will provide critical insight to the government, public officers, and non-governmental agencies that target on eliminating violence amongst young people on the factors that contribute to young people’s involvement in violence. Additionally, the research findings will provide critical insight to parents, guardians, and the school management team on the importance of ensuring that children are not exposed to environments that increase their probability of engaging in violent behaviour. Thus, the study will be very valuable in formulating policies and measures on how to overcome violence amongst young offenders hence contributing to an increase in the level of social stability.

Literature review

This chapter entails a critical analysis of literature on violence perpetrated by young offenders. The review specifically targets literature materials that specifically discuss violence perpetrated by adolescents and youth aged between 18 and 29 years. Thus, the review does not include literature on violence committed by adults. On the basis of these inclusion and exclusion criteria, the literature review has been able to understand the fundamental issues associated with violence perpetrated by young offenders.

Involvement in violence amongst young people has become a burning social issue across the world (Kumsa et al. 2013).  Violence perpetrated by young offenders results in extensive social effects such as disability, premature death, and injury amongst the victims (Kumsa et al. 2013). This view is supported by Swartz and Scott (2014), who posit that ‘violence by young people is one of the most visible forms of violence in the society’ (p. 25). A study conducted Natale and Wiliams (2012) in 2010 in the UK ranks violence as one of the leading offenses amongst types of crime as illustrated by table 1 and graph 1 below.

Table 1

Graph 1

Source: (Natale & Williams 2012)

Despite efforts to reduce violence amongst young people, the problem still persists. In 2013/2014, violence against another person perpetrated by young people accounted for 22% of the total number of offenses by young people. Over 19,500 cases of violence committed by young people were reported in 2013/2014 (Ministry of Justice 2015).

Involvement in violence amongst young people hurts the perpetrator’s friends, families, and the community at large.   The problem of violence perpetrated by young people cannot be addressed in isolation. This arises from the fact that it leads to other problems such as dropping out of school, reckless driving, substance abuse, and the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (McMurran, Hoyte & Jinks 2011). The increase in violence amongst young people has been triggered by a myriad of factors amongst them the heightened rate of globalisation, which has led to the creation of risk and uncertainties in society (Hawkins et al. 2000). In spite of the prevailing recognition of youth involvement in crime, most studies have failed to establish the link between violence amongst young people and increase in the rate of racialisation and globalisation (Kumsa et al. 2013).

One of the major factors associated with an increase in the incidence of violence amongst young people relates to situational factors. According to Hawkins et al. (2000), situational factors refer to ‘circumstances that surround a violent event and influence the outcome of that event’ (p. 5). Examples of situational factors that predispose young people from engaging in violence include alcohol or consumption of drugs and ease of access to weapons. A number of quantitative studies conducted indicate that alcohol consumption is strongly correlated with criminal behaviour (Jackson-Roe, Murray & Brown 2015). Findings of a study conducted in Sweden to determine the relationship between alcohol consumption and violence showed that younger people are more likely to engage in violence as a result of alcohol consumption (Ramstedt et al. 2013). This relationship has led to the formulation of the Alcohol Myopia Model, which according to McMurran, Hoyte and Jinks (2011) proposes that ‘alcohol impairs cognitive processing so that attention is narrowed onto salient and immediate provocative cues as opposed to the consequences of such provocative cues’ (p.77).  Thus, alcohol consumption amongst some individuals increases their likelihood of engaging in violence and confrontation.

Violence amongst young people may also arise as a result of peer-related factors. For example, delinquent peers may influence behaviour amongst adolescents hence increasing the likelihood of committing violent crimes (Kumsa et al. 2013). Moreover, gang membership may increase the likelihood of young people engaging in violence (Hawkins et al. 2000).  Additionally, the probability of the development of violent behaviour amongst young people is also likely to be influenced by community and neighbourhood factors. Amongst the core neighbourhood factors that might trigger the development of violence include poverty, availability of weapons and drugs, and community disorganisation. The element of community disorganisation entails the extent to which neighbourhoods are prone to crimes perpetrated by gangs, availability of drugs, and poor housing.  Gangs might organise themselves on the basis of territorial identities. This might lead to violent territorial conflict among young people (Bannister, Kintrea & Pickering 2013).  Hawkins et al. (2000) assert that poverty ranks as one of the leading causes of violence amongst young people. Adolescents from low-income families are more likely to engage in ten violent offenses compared to adolescents from high-income families.  On the other hand, racial prejudice and exposure to violence within the community is another major factor that increases the likelihood of juvenile violence.

Apart from the above factors, the school environment is further considered as a potential factor in the development of violent behaviour amongst young people. Hawkins et al. (2000) argue that different school-related experiences, for example, low educational attainment, absenteeism, lack of interest in education, and poor-quality learning environment, may influence the development of violent behaviour.  Results of a study conducted by Rajan, Namdar and Ruggles (2015) indicate that ‘rates of youth feeling unsafe in their school environment, bringing weapons to school, and engaging in physical fighting on school property continue to persist’ (p. 446).  This finding reveals that the school environment is a critical determinant of the extent to which students are positively engaged hence deterring them from engaging in criminal activities.  To ensure that the school environment is effective in minimising the perpetration of violence by the youth, it is imperative for stakeholders in the education sector to ensure that the school environment contributes to a high level of bonding with the students. Hawkins et al. (2000) accentuate that bonding with the school environment is an essential protective factor against the development of violent behaviour.

In summary, the literature review indicates that the perpetration of violence by young people is a fundamental social issue that should be addressed in order to overcome the problems that arise from its prevalence. From the review, violence perpetrated by young people not only affects the perpetrators and victims but also impacts society in general. High costs are incurred in incarcerating young offenders. Similarly, substantial healthcare costs are incurred in offering care to both perpetrators and victims. To overcome the problems posed by violence amongst young people, it is imperative for stakeholders to develop a comprehensive understanding of the factors that trigger violence or young offenders. The review of literature further shows that involvement in violence amongst young people is triggered by different factors. Therefore, it is imperative for different stakeholders in society to appreciate the importance of responding to the factors that trigger violence amongst young offenders in order to eliminate this social problem.


The purpose of the research study is to examine violence amongst young offenders. Gaining knowledge on this aspect will provide critical insight on how to resolve violence perpetrated by the youth, which has become a critical social issue. Therefore, the research study will be exploratory in nature. To achieve the intended research purpose, the research study will be based on the literature review methodology. According to Lin (2009), the literature review methodology refers to ‘a methodological approach, which entails reading through, analysing and sorting literature in order to identify the essential attributes of materials’ (p. 179). Alternatively, Creswell (2014) is of the perception that literature review methodology entails a research design in which the researcher undertakes a critical review and evaluation of available research materials relevant to the research topic with the intention of comparing and interpreting the secondary data.  Through literature review, the study will be able to gather adequate insight into the fundamental issues related to violence perpetrated by young offenders by reviewing different types of literature materials.

To ensure that relevant data on the research topic is collected, the research process will ensure that secondary data is collected from credible sources. Gast and Ledford (2014) emphasise that the source of secondary data impacts the credibility of the research findings. Therefore, past studies on the perpetration of violence by young offenders will be taken into consideration. A number of steps will be taken into consideration in selecting the research data. The first step will entail selecting the literature to use as the source of secondary data. This step will be actualised by employing the exclusion and inclusion criteria.

The exclusion criteria will entail eliminating studies that focus on violence perpetrated by adults while the inclusion criteria will involve selecting literature material containing secondary data on violence amongst young offenders. The enhance the credibility of secondary data, the researcher will ensure that data is obtained from credible literature materials such as books, journals, and reports related to violence amongst young people (Mills, Durepos & Wiebe 2010; Coughlan & Cronin 2016). Amongst the core sources of secondary data that will be considered in the study include selecting data from credible databases such as ProQuest, EBSCO and Emerald.  The choice of these databases as the source of literature material is informed by the fact that they provide a rich source of information. Therefore, the likelihood of the researcher gathering the intended research data will be improved substantially. Additionally, the literature review methodology will involve evaluating secondary data from peer-reviewed and gray literature such as peer-reviewed journals and white papers (Ecker & Skelly 2010). In searching for secondary data from the online databases identified, the researcher will employ Boolean operators. Subsequently, a set of key words relevant to the research topic will be used in undertaking online research.

Critical appraisal of the literature materials

The researcher is cognisant of the fact that sourcing literature materials from different databases will present a challenge in selecting the relevant literature material. This arises from the fact that the likelihood of gathering extensive literature material will be substantial-high. To overcome this problem, the researcher will undertake a comprehensive critical appraisal of the literature materials selected. According to Aveyard (2014), critical appraisal is essential very important in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of a particular research article.  On the basis of the critical appraisal, the researcher is able to determine the extent to which the findings of a particular research study are valid to the current study (LoBoindo-Wood & Haber 2014).  Through the critical analysis technique, the researcher will be able to narrow down to the most relevant studies. Therefore, the critical analysis technique will play a fundamental role in reducing information overload by eliminating weak studies.

 Data analysis

The secondary data collected from the selected literature materials will be analysed using qualitative data analysis techniques. The rationale for using the qualitative research design technique is to ensure that the qualitative data collected is effectively analysed (Mays & Pope 2000; Creswell 2014). The qualitative data collected will be analysed by employing the thematic data analysis technique.  Holland and Rees (2010) assert that ‘thematic analysis entails identifying themes inherent in the secondary materials selected, analysing and reporting the themes’ (p. 34). To enhance the effectiveness with which the thematic analysis will be undertaken, the data analysis process will further entail integrating the coding technique, which entails establishing a link between the data collected to an emergent theory (Ezzy 2013).  Randomised controlled trial (RCT) framework will be employed in critiquing the literature materials from which the secondary data is sourced. By employing the RCT framework, the research study will be able to ensure that the secondary data collected is valid and relevant to the current research study (Sellman & Snelling 2014; Young & Solomon 2003). Moreover, Garrard (2016) is of the view that integrating the RCT framework enhances the effectiveness with which the researcher understands the literature materials selected for the study. The research findings will be presented to the target audience using graphs, tables, and charts. The rationale for employing these data presentation techniques is to ensure that the target audience easily understands the research findings.

 Ethical issues

In the process of conducting the research study, the requisite ethical issues will be taken into consideration. Observing ethics is critical in enhancing the efficacy with which the data collected is credible. The ultimate effect is that the acceptability of the research findings will be enhanced hence increasing the relevance of the research findings to the target audience (Whittaker & Williamson 2014). Considering the fact that the research study will obtain data from documented sources, the researcher will ensure that the original authors of the secondary materials selected are duly recognised. Therefore, the opinions, ideas, and results of other researchers selected in the study will be optimally cited and referenced. Through this approach, the researcher will succeed in avoiding engaging in plagiarism hence improving the credibility of the research study (Hulley et al. 2013). In addition to the above ethical issues, the researcher will contact the authors of the selected materials informing them of how the credibility of the original data will be maintained by desisting from falsification or fabrication of the research data. In obtaining informed consent, the researcher will inform the original owners of the intention to only focus on critiquing the study’s research findings.

Project outline

To ensure that the research study is successfully completed, a number of chapters will be taken into account as outlined herein.

Chapter 1: Introduction; in this chapter, the study will focus on providing a comprehensive introduction to the research topic, the research purpose, and the identification of the research problem.  This chapter will further outline the research questions that the research study will seek to respond to. This chapter will further entail justifying the research study by illustrating the basis of the research study or its rationale.  The significance of the research study to the target audience will further be illustrated.

Chapter 2: Literature review; this chapter will entail a critical review of literature material on violence amongst young offenders. The rationale for analysing available literature materials is to identify possible research gaps. The research gaps identified will inform the researcher on the fundamental issues that the research study should focus on in order to eliminate the research gaps. Thus, this chapter will play a fundamental role in the development of the research study, for example, the development of a new theory.

Chapter 3: Methodology; this chapter will detail the research procedure followed in conducting the research study. Amongst the research fundamental elements that will be included in this chapter include the research design, method of data collection, sources of data, method of data analysis, and presentation. Moreover, the ethical issues considered in the course of conducting the study will be analysed in detail.

Chapter 4: Findings; this chapter will detail the research findings. Thus, a summary of the findings obtained from analysing secondary data sourced from different literature materials will be provided. The presentation of findings will ensure that the voluminous qualitative data gathered collected is condensed in order to enhance its relevance to the target audience. For example, an effective presentation of the findings will ensure that the target audience easily understands the qualitative data.

Chapter 5: Discussion; this chapter will entail a further analysis and evaluation of the research findings. The chapter will examine the extent to which the research findings are connected with available literature and theory.  Thus, this chapter will contribute to the development of theories and models aimed at addressing the issues raised by the model.

Chapter 6: Conclusion, recommendation, and future research; This chapter will provide a conclusion on the research study by illustrating the extent to which the findings of the research study successfully address the research purpose. The chapter will further provide recommendations on how to address the research problems. With reference to future research, this chapter will detail possible gaps in the research study that constitute potential research areas.

Project timetable  

The researcher intends to complete the research study within a predetermined time period. Thus, the research process will be based on the following timetable.

project timetable 1

project timetable 2

By following the proposed research methods and procedures, the researcher intends to succeed in achieving the intended research purpose hence increasing the value of the research findings to the intended audience.


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