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criminology project proposal

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Maria Ducca

on 8 May 2014

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Transcript of criminology project proposal

Project Design
Statement of Problem
Adolescent prostitution refers to “youths under the age of 18 exchanging sex for money or other financial advantage” (Rodriguez, 2011, p. 187)
While this phenomenon has existed for centuries, it first gained national attention as a pervasive social problem in the mid-1970s, after the start of the child sexual abuse and children’s rights movements (Weisberg, 1985)
In 1983, the Department of Health and Human Services estimated that between 733,000 and 1.3 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 ran away from home
Research by Bryan (2013) found that of the 17,000 youths in crisis studied, 33% were runaways
Risk Factors
Although there are numerous risk factors associated with the onset of street level prostitution, the five most prominent factors are:
Physical abuse and neglect
Child sexual abuse
Drug and/or alcohol use
Family background/structure
Early sexual experience
These conditions are risk factors that correlate with the onset and pathway into the life of street prostitution
Literature Review
Strain Theory argues an adolescent will engage in criminal behavior when an adolescent fails to achieve a goal and experiences strain; thus resorting “to illegitimate channels of goal achievement” (Agnew, 1985, p. 151)
Robert Agnew developed General Strain Theory by building off the tenets of the original Strain Theory
Individuals can experience strain from instances other than failure to achieve goals
Each individual experiences strains differently
Can be identified by anger, frustration, anxiety, depression, and hopelessness (Agnew, 2001)
Anticipated Findings
The Children of the Night non-profit, full-service program attempts to combat this problem and give these girls back their childhood (Lee, 2013)
The child needs to make the initial call to the program to give their own consent on wanting to get help
The program provides a 24-hour hotline so these children can call at any time they feel ready to change their lives (Lee, 2013)
The program then makes arrangements to provide transportation for these girls to arrive at the center
Upon arrival, the girls are given clothing, a bed, and all necessary items they need to live a healthy and happy life
On site schooling, workshops, residential meetings, and regular appointments with caseworkers are available (Lee, 2013)
Giving these children “the stability of a schedule and of knowing what is going to happen next” will help them stick with the program and not return to prostitution (“Routine in Shelter Home”, 2013, para.1)
Girls are able to stay in the program until they are 18 years old and helped with college applications and job placements for once they leave
This program maintains objectives that consist of structuring an entirely new life for its girls that is independent from their past
Anticipated findings in the reduction of long term strains should produce similar results to the Children of the Night program already in place in Los Angeles, CA
Females that have success in achieving their GED and avoiding prostitution in the future are likely to attribute their achievements to a reduction in strain, so it may be general to conclude these girls will not report as many stressful life factors in follow-up interviews
Policy Implications
Policy implications include expansion of the program to other regions within the US that experience high rates of childhood prostitution and transient juveniles
Growth of this program is only natural as the demand for assistance continues to increase and the number of children known to engage in prostitution similarly increases as awareness and knowledge spreads
Lawmakers should be attentive to the resources that have contributed to the program’s success and apply them to other public services
Other homeless adolescents and runaways may require similar assistance and could benefit from the services offered
Exploration into these populations could expand the breadth of research and knowledge available to assist these individuals and provide a stable foundation to them as well
Weaknesses were among the reasons Agnew sought to revise Strain Theory in the first place
Original Strain Theory states
Most crime happens in lower social classes
Neglected to explain why individuals age out of crime
Failed to address why people do not commit crimes during certain periods of time
Adolescent Female Prostitution & General Strain Theory

Maria Ducca, Ashley Jensen, Romero Lundy, Madison Nilsen

A majority of adolescent females who leave home find themselves on city streets, homeless, destitute, and without the basic necessities to survive
Due to their age, limited education, inadequate work experience, and no verifiable residence, it is extremely difficult for runaways to obtain employment (Roberts, 1992; Koverola et al., 1998; Finkelhor & Ormrod, 2004)
With no other options, these females resort to a host of illegal activities in order to survive
4 models which explain when strain will cause crime “when they
(1) are seen as unjust
(2) are seen as high in magnitude
(3) are associated with low social control
(4) create some pressure or incentive to engage in criminal coping” (Agnew, 2001, p. 326)
There is very little literature on the relationship between General Strain Theory and adolescent prostitution
One of the strains a child can experience is child maltreatment
Child maltreatment is a strain that falls under two of Agnew’s models in GST in which criminal behavior is likely to occur: it is unjust and high in magnitude (Reid, 2011)
These factors can “inflate minors’ risk for entrapment into prostitution” (Reid, 2011, p. 146)
The strain these girls have experienced in their homes make them easy targets to traffickers or pimps who can easily seduce the girls “by fraudulent promises of love, safety, and affection” (Reid, 2011, p. 147)
Reid (2011) found that young girls who experienced child maltreatment were more likely to run away and begin using drugs and alcohol, and these dysfunctional coping behaviors were both related to the adolescent then becoming involved in prostitution
The results from Reid’s study provides a foundation for future investigations into the correlation between GST and adolescent female prostitution
Method of Data Collection
Target population: female adolescents ages 11-17 that have engaged in prostitution and sexual services
Rescued from the greater Philadelphia area into southern New Jersey to maximize the region that assistance may be given
Girls looking to enter Children of the Night must have a documented history of prostitution issues recorded by police, social care records, and/or medical records
Consent must be given by child and an appropriate guardian, such as a parent, social worker, or a probation officer, must also give verbal consent before admission into the program
Additional paperwork documenting consent and medical information is also mandated, but the completion of these forms will not delay the child’s intake into the program
Program is non-profit and privately funded government funding should be allocated to this program
Children may not be native English speakers  translators of different languages, especially Spanish, are needed
Adolescents may choose not to participate because they are unaware of other options they have  these girls need to be reached out to and given the tools necessary to leave their pimps/traffickers
Upon arrival, the child is offered clothing, food, hygiene items, a shower and assigned to a room with two single beds, a dresser for personal belongings, and a private bathroom
The child will meet with her assigned staff member to complete her intake information where she must answer a survey administered orally or written to document her history and needs unique to the individual
Basic health care information, an assessment of violence exposure, possibility of emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse, education level, the presence of family or social support, life goals, and program expectations are asked
The data obtained is then used to triage a care plan conducive to each female’s needs and to assess her condition prior to entering the program
Schedules are given for Monday through Thursday in the home
Fridays involve educational trips or trips to points of interest such as museums and amusement parks
Weekend activities are comprised of sports, reading, arts and crafts and other leisure activities
Church services will be available on Sundays for girls who choose to participate
Meetings with staff members and doctor’s appointments are scheduled throughout the week
Résumé building and job skills training are offered to encourage job attainment
Children of the Night’s evaluations should reflect a decrease or elimination of stress that would indicate its success
Previous evaluations show that 70-80% of adolescents do not go back to prostitution, yet additional reviews are needed to examine how these girls are handling the strains they once encountered
Follow-up interviews with girls who either aged out of the program or complete at least a one year stay will be conducted at six months, 1 year, and 3 year intervals
Girls will be asked to narrate their current living situation and how they have healed since their stay
Results indicative of a stable living environment, social connections, job placement, and refraining from prostitution or other illegal activities would prove the program has successfully achieved its goals of reducing the strains associated with engagement in prostitution
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