This study examines the types of offenses girls are involved in, and the contribution of sexual abuse and social control factors among immigrant and native-born Israeli girls in explaining their involvement in delinquency and anti-social behavior.A total of 93 girls, aged 15-19, participated in the study. Of these, 45.2% were immigrants from the former Soviet Union and 54.8% were native-born Israelis. They answered an anonymous self-reporting questionnaire that examined their level of involvement in several types of delinquent behaviors (such as crimes against a person or public disorder offenses), anti-social behaviors (such as alcohol and cigarette use and involvement in prostitution) and a series of independent variables such as sexual abuse, parental involvement and attachment, and socio-economic status.We found that girls are involved in a variety of types of offense, including prostitution. We also found that a large number of the participants (61%) had been exposed to sexual abuse during their lifetime. Girls who had been exposed to sexual abuse reported higher levels of involvement in all delinquent behaviors. In addition, the relationship between sexual abuse and drug abuse was mediated by involvement in prostitution. The higher the parental control and the girls' commitment to school and learning, the lower their reports on most of the delinquent behaviors we examined. Immigrant girls reported more than native-born girls on their involvement in most delinquent behaviors. More immigrant girls reported on their involvement in most delinquent behaviors than native-born girls.The results emphasize the central role that sexual abuse plays in predicting girls' involvement in delinquency: it was found particularly to affect girls' involvement in prostitution and drug use. The study emphasizes the need to develop practice methods that meet the specific needs of girls at risk for involvement in delinquency and anti-social behavior.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Partial funding for the research was provided by the Sofi Rgolski Foundation .
- Sexual abuse
- Social control