Predictors of SVJ Offending

In general, violent behavior results from an interaction of individual, contextual (family, school, and peers), situational, and community factors. The Study Group report yields further knowledge about the predictors of serious and violent offending and how they can inform and guide the interventions of the juvenile justice system, child welfare system, mental health system, and schools. The importance of predictor variables is underscored by the fact that those juveniles with the most risk factors are 5 to 20 times more likely to engage in subsequent SVJ offending than other youth.

There are many other identified predictors of SVJ offending. These include:

Bullet Persistent precocious behavior problems (e.g., sexual behavior and experimentation with illegal substances) during the elementary school-age years.
Bullet For children between the ages of 6 and 11, nonserious delinquent acts, aggression, substance use, low family socioeconomic status, and antisocial parents.
Bullet For youth between the ages of 12 and 14, weak social ties, antisocial peers, nonserious delinquent behavior, poor school attitude and performance, and psychological conditions such as impulsivity.
Bullet For adolescents, joining delinquent gangs. Rates of SVJ offending increase after joining a gang and decrease after leaving a gang.
Bullet Drug dealing.

Table 2 illustrates the approximate ordering of risk factors associated with SVJ offending and how the developmental sequencing of life experiences and behaviors needs to be considered in developing effective, timely prevention and intervention programs.

Serious and Violent Juvenile Offenders Juvenile Justice Bulletin   ·  May 1998