Home and Family Circumstances of Young Offenders: An Examination of Social Workers Views

Published 17/10/2007
Type Article
Author(s) Thozama Mandisa
Corresponding Authors Thozama Mandisa, Lecturer in Social Work and Criminology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Crime is endemic in South Africa. It affects citizens across, age, racial, gender, religious, and socio-economic divide. Young persons seem to be the likely suspects and offenders in most criminal acts. However, detailed investigations pertaining to the causes of youth offences mainly attributes youth offending to socio-economic factors. This research has considered home and family circumstances of youth offenders as leading factors influencing the rise in youth offences. A purposive sample of social workers and probation officers closely working with young offenders was utilized to test some of theories on youth offending. The respondents in this research have worked with offenders from all communities in South Africa. Particularly important was to look at the role of parenting during the socialization processes in youth offenders lives. The research results have revealed youth offenders either have been improperly socialized or were exposed to conditions, which might have indirectly encouraged violent behaviour. The outcome of this research suggests that South Africans ought to examine introspectively their parenting practices in order to prevent crime.