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Criminology (610)
CRIM 101 (121)
Chapter 8

CRIM 101 - Chapter 8 Textbook .doc

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Simon Fraser University
CRIM 101
Barry Cartwright

CRIM CHAPTER 8 TEXTBOOK NOTES CHAPTER 8 : Crime and the Family and Household Introduction − Some theories, especially those that focus on motivation, are more useful when analyzing the precursors of crime events − transactions are best understood from opportunity perspectives − aftermath can be analyzed using the insights drawn from theories about reactions to crime − two broad kinds of crime events concern us in this chapter 1) various forms of family violence/crimes that are IN the household 2) break and enter, theft and other crimes AGAINST the household − may seem peculiar to consider such different types of crimes under a common heading − however, it is the focus on the structure and rhythms of the family and household domain which provides the unifying theme − Ex. members of low-come households, may experience a variety of stressors which make violence among family members more common − Similarly, in large family,s parents may be less able to supervise all their children effectively and may create likelihood of sibling violence The family and the household − concept of family has several different meanings − narrow definitions : husband and wife, with or without children, or lone parent − broader definitions : concept of family includes any adult-child grouping (e.g. Gay/lesbians) and all intimate cohabitating or consciously committed support groups, including childless couples, communes and network of friends − family : any relatively enduring pattern of social relationships through which domestic life is organized − social disorganization : coherence and continuity in the social environment, and rational cooperation among individuals and social institutions − household : the social and physical setting within which family life is organized − family relations often extend beyond a particular household − From a wealth of demographic data, it is clear that family relations have changed a great deal : - past few decades, canadians have seen a decrease in marriages, and increase in common-law marriages and a rise in the breakup of all unions - more people will spend more time living alone/ large number of short term relationships - a decline in birth rates and an increase in number of “empty nesters” − average age for first marriages is rising steadily for both brides and grooms - same sex marriage legalized in canada in july 2005 - couples are living longer and living better after their children leave then ever before − we are witnessing a move from the conventional single-family unit − more an more household are now made up of entirely elderly canadians on their own, with the result that this group's dependence on their children is increasing Family Violence − violence is part of family life − very gradually, in large part through efforts of claims-makers has it come to recognized that family violence is a social problem − family violence : child abuse, wife assault, elder abuse, and other forms of physical coercion that are contextualized by domestic living arrangements − 1960s, problem of child abuse emerged as a policy and research issue − 1970s, wife abuse moved onto agendas as well − 1980s , elder abuse came to be recognized as a form of family violence requiring attention − lesser degree of research in sibling violence and adolescent violence towards parents Precursors Characteristics of Families − interpersonal conflict theory has been used to shed light on how families run into the kinds of problems that lead to interpersonal violence − The following draw insights provided by Gelles and Straus (1988) 1) Family life provides the social setting for omnipresent conflict - family members spend a great deal of time with one another and interact across a wide variety of dimensions - also make a great number of decisions - frequency of interactions like this, coupled with their intensity (often high), sets the stage for conflict - also families include a heterogenous social grouping (boys and girls, age ) - family members usually know each other well, know each others weaknesses and vulnerabilities -youth face greater victimization risks in stepfamilies and in single parent families 2) Family life is private life - what happens between family members often takes place behind closed doors - privacy of families have structured how the police an the courts have responded to intrafamily violence - violence in the home is a family matter may be shared by the victims of violence - all these factors reinforce the low visibility of home violence and suggest the extend to which it is immune from many of the informal social controls that regulate violent behaviour among non-intimates - a feminist perspectives suggest that concerns for the privacy of home simply shield the abuser from the sanctions of the criminal justice system 3) Cultural attitude toward family violence are highly ambivalent (uncertain) - in families, physical violence continues to be tolerated - ex. Spanking of children - this suggest that rules about violence in the home differ from rules about violence in other social domains - recent past, violent behaviours by husband against wives were tolerated - now, most people still continue to regard sibling violence as normal and natural - these cultural attitudes toward violence in the family can affect the figure of actual family violence in two ways i) holding of such attitudes is related to the use of violence - if people think there is really nothing wrong with behaving aggressively, they'd be more likely to do so - abuser may not care of what the neighbours think and the neighbours might not care all that much of what the abuser does 4) Family is a hierarchical institution - some family members have more power than others - Power control theory : traditional patriarchal families, husband have more power - Violence can thus be understood as one effective means of gaining compliance Inequality in Family relations − consensus views of the family have been challenged by those who see that inequalities in family relations render some people more vulnerable than others to intrafamily violence − our tendency to categorize the major forms of family violence as “wife assault”, “child abuse”, “elder abuse” reflect this fact − females face a greater risk than males of experiencing violence at the hands of family members − victimization surveys show that the overwhelming majority of victims of partner violences are women − data from the 2004 Canadian General Social Survey (GSS) indicate that women are more likely than men to report having beaten or choked by a partner or gun threat − 98% of acts of spousal forced confinement involved female victims − as well, stalking is more likely to happen in women than men − Spousal homicides accounted for 15 % of solved homicides and almost half of all family homicides in 2008 − risk of being a victim of spousal homicide is highest for younger people and for those who are in common law relationships − some studies show that women can be just as violent − need to focus more on the “battered husband” − Important to note, critics charge the true extent of family violence against men may not be known in part because it has not been taken seriously as a problem − even in nowadays, a man abused by a women is likely to invoke disbelief − This is especially clear in elder abuse when men seem to comprise the larger victim category − pattern of violence against children also reflect patterns of inequality and dependency − family assaults of children are alarmingly common − According to 2007 UCR data, for ever 100,00 young people, 206 experienced violence by a family member − offender was twice as likely to be a parent than a sibling and three times more likely to be a parent than an extended family member − parents were more likely to commit physical assault than sexual assault and girls were more likely to be victims − police data indicate that for children under age of 6, 6 in 10 assaults are committed by a family member − however this is only a small proportion in the total number of such incidents − most likely fathers are perpetrators of violence against children − in 2007, males were responsible for 96% of all family-related sexual assaults and 71% of all physical assaults of children and youth − most young homicide victims were killed by a parent , typically the father − almost 90% of the family-related homicides involving victims under age of 18 were committed by the father Elderly − Important to stress that there is nothing about age in and of itself which increases vulnerability to victimization − disability does in fact increase susceptibility to victimization − however elderly still have the lowest rate of criminal victimization Isolation and Economic Stress − when families are isolated from the wider community of kin, friends and neigh
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