Youth and Crime, 2nd Edition by Professor John Muncie

By Professor John Muncie

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Despite moments of apparent visibility the issue of child victimization remains peripheral to mainstream law and order debates and absent from most criminological agendas (Saraga, 2001). 86). In addition, Morgan and Zedner (1992) draw attention to the fact that young people not only suffer from physical and sexual abuse and bullying but are witness to numerous and prolonged instances of parental violence in the home. Children are often ‘indirect victims’. Over a third of households burgled each year include children who may be traumatized as a result, but are rarely considered to be victims themselves.

In 2003 the Sun (15 October) launched its ‘Shop a Yob’ campaign promising to name and shame the ‘guilty’, condemning the ‘politically correct claptrap’ of ‘soft courts’ and advocating the setting up of ‘tough work camps’ for the ‘animals who make your lives a misery’. In promoting such views the media regularly claim they are simply responding to public opinion. The nature of populist punitiveness is, however, far from straightforward. ‘Public opinion’ is often presented as some undifferentiated and homogeneous entity and its divergences and complexities rarely fully acknowledged and understood.

The problem, however, remains of deciphering which of these numerous variables has more pertinence with some people at some times. The degree to which they interrelate and react remains uncertain. 4). Using an ethnographic, rather than statistical and personality measurement approach, Foster’s (1990) study, which spanned the generations in one area of south-east London in the early 1980s, also found that parental attitudes to education, street life and crime were replicated (through subtle processes of parental reinforcement) by their children.

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