It is evident that a number of researches have been carried out in an attempt to investigate whether childhood abuse and neglect leads to adult criminal behaviour (Widon, 2001). According to the research that was sponsored by the National Institute of Justice, childhood abuse as well as neglect generally increases adult criminal behaviour by 29 % (Widon, 2001). This is a study that was carried out in 1998, when the age of subjects was 26 on average. In 1994, the subjects were on average 32.5 years of age (Widon, 2001). Out of this sample only 1 percent was above the offending years. In researches carried out much recently, the same sentiments are shared in a number of respects, though they also portray different opinions on others. The study compared the 1575 cases of two groups’ right from childhood to young adulthood. The first group was 908 cases of childhood abuse and neglect, which had been processed by the courts within the period between 1967 and 1971(Widon, 2001). In addition, an approximately over 20 years’ track through the criminal records had been done on them. This group was matched by age, approximate socioeconomic status of the family, race and sex in comparison to a study done on 667 children (Widon, 2001).
From these studies it is apparent that the victimization of childhood leads to a lot of serious social problems (Perez and Widom, 1994). As indicated by the delinquency research, it is clear that both physical and sexual childhood abuse is usually linked with delinquency. In addition, early maltreatment enhances the seriousness, the variety, and the duration of the problems. Further the studies indicate that today’s abused children eventually become the violent offenders of tomorrow. This is justified by the phrase ‘violence begets violence’.
In a study carried out previously on the effects of the early malnutrition on the consequent behaviors of a child, it is evident that malnourished children suffered from attention deficits, poorer emotional stability as well as reduced social skills as compared to children who did not suffer from malnutrition (Zingraff et al, 1993).
Apparently, a child’s neglect or abuse increases the possibility of the child to be arrested approximately by 59 percent as a juvenile, 28 percent as an adult and 30 percent for a violent crime. Clearly, the maltreated children who were younger at their initial time of arrest were found to commit more crimes (Widon, 2001). Besides, they were also arrested frequently. Comparing the sexually abused children and the physically abused or neglected children, it is apparent that the latter were the ones arrested later for crimes which were violent (Perez and Widom, 1994). In much contemporary studies, neglected and abused females also were at a risk of being arrested for violence as juveniles and as adults.
The non-maltreated children among the whites indicated the highest rates of crimes as compared to the maltreated children (Zingraff et al, 1993). Among the blacks, on the other hand, it is the neglected and abused children who indicated an increase in the arrests of the violent crimes. From the studies, there was no link between the children who were arrested away from their home, the reason that they were abused or neglected and the out of home placement.
In conclusion, the victimization of children leads to a lot of serious social problems. Moreover, it has an influence on the subsequent child behavior. It is, therefore, of paramount importance that children are not abused either physically or sexually. In addition, they should not be neglected so that they are shaped into being better citizens of tomorrow.