Transitions and turning points revisited: A replication to explore child maltreatment and youth offending links within and across Australian cohorts
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In this study we examined the consistency of life-course child maltreatment trajectories and youth offending links across birth cohorts. In so doing we demonstrated the value of replication studies for maltreatment research. We applied the methodology of Stewart et al. (2008) and linked population-based (1990 birth cohort) child protection and youth justice administrative data from Queensland, Australia. We performed a group based trajectory analysis to identify distinct maltreatment trajectory groups distinguishable by maltreatment timing and frequency across the life-course. We explored group-based youth offending outcomes with consideration of variations in maltreatment chronicity, timing, and frequency, multi-type maltreatment, gender and race (Indigenous Australian versus non-Indigenous Australian youths). To determine the consistency of maltreatment trajectories and offending links across cohorts (1983/84 versus 1990) we compared our results with those of Stewart et al. (2008). Consistent with Stewart et al. (2008): (1) We identified six distinct maltreatment trajectory groups; (2) Trajectory groups characterised by chronic maltreatment and/or adolescent maltreatment had the largest proportion of young offenders; and (3) Maltreatment frequency commonly peaked at transition points. Extending beyond Stewart et al. (2008) we noted considerable overlap between maltreatment dimensions and a potential impact of race and multi-type maltreatment on maltreatment and offending links. We endorse replication studies as a valuable tool to advance child maltreatment policy and practice and recommend further research on interactions between maltreatment dimensions, gender, race, and youth offending.
Child Abuse & Neglect
Criminology not elsewhere classified