The maltreatment-violence link: Exploring the role of maltreatment experiences and other individual and social risk factors among young people who offend

Catia Malvaso, Paul Delfabbro, Andrew Day, Gavin Nobes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective: This study investigated the extent to which violent offending in a population of young people detained in secure care facilities is related to variations in child maltreatment after controlling for other known individual and social correlates of crime.

Method: Official child protection and youth justice records and survey information for 1819 young people were analyzed. Measures included: maltreatment factors (including type, timing and recurrence); out-of-home care placement factors (including type, age at first placement, stability and duration of placements); social factors (including family and peer risk indicators); and individual factors (including factors relating to intelligence and education, substance use, mental health problems, and behavior). Gender and cultural background were also investigated as potential moderating factors. Logistic regression was used to determine the independent effect of maltreatment factors on violent convictions in the presence of other risk factors.

Results: Persistent maltreatment was a consistent predictor of violent convictions. Other independent predictors included: aggression, anger, Indigenous status, and male gender, with household conflict also approaching significance.

Conclusion: Collaborative and integrated responses from both child protection and juvenile justice may be needed if comprehensive violence prevention strategies are to be developed for young offenders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-45
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Early online date2 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • Maltreatment
  • Out-of-home care
  • Youth offending
  • Violence
  • Anger
  • Aggression

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