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Projects of the joint German-Austrian call 2013

Peer Delinquency

|   Call 2010

Perception and interpretation of typical juvenile offences from adolescents’ perspective as a basis for preventive measures

Crime prevention for adolescents as well as regular contact with delinquent girls and boys has  the following problem: Adolescents’ perception and interpretation of criminal offences differs from that of adults and bodies of formal control and they often attribute different meaning and functions to them.

Such differences in perception and interpretation become all the more evident when peer delinquency is linked to its meaning and function within a particular everyday context.

Stealing mobile phones for example is an offence in which perpetrators and victims are adolescents. Given the relatively small value of the stolen item (only a mobile phone) the media often presents this as a scandal whereas adolescents see it as a game.

Such a difference in perspectives does not only lead to a lack of admission of guilt and sense of responsibility but can also change the offender’s self image which can lead to repeat offences. This also shows the limits of applying preventive measures.

The aim of this study to show –based on typical criminal offences- juvenile perception and interpretation patterns as well as normative analysis and legitimization logics behind these and use them in cooperation with social work institutions and the executive forces (cooperation partners) for development and adaptation of preventive measures.

Research methods:

·           Expert interviews with youth work professionals (not in education system)

·           Discussions in (small) groups and qualitative individual interviews with delinquents and non delinquent adolescents from different social backgrounds.

·           Quantitative interviews with approximately 1600 girls and boys in Vienna using audio-vignettes (systematically changed crime scenarios presented as professional produced radio news to be judged on assessment scales; computer assisted survey)

Project leader Christiane Atzmüller
Kompetenzzentrum für Soziale Arbeit (KOSAR) / FH Campus Wien
Favoritenstraße 226, 1100 Wien
Tel.: +43 1 606 68 77-8308
Fax: +43 1 606 68 77-8309

Other Project or Cooperation partner
JUVIVO – Es lebe die Jugend!
NEUSTART – Bewährungshilfe, Konfliktregelung, Soziale Arbeit
Bundesministerium für Inneres (Abteilung Kriminalprävention und Opferhilfe & Referat für Exekutivdienst)

Contact Christiane Atzmüller und Ingrid Kromer
Kompetenzzentrum für Soziale Arbeit (KOSAR) / FH Campus Wien
Favoritenstraße 226, 1100 Wien
Tel.: +43 1 606 68 77-8308
Fax: +43 1 606 68 77-8309