SHAY140 Criminology: Theory and Practice:
Assessment 2 ESSAY
Tutor: Patricia Aloi
Student number: 9889000.
03 June 2013
A little girl was two when the physical and sexual abuse commenced at her day care centre in Victoria, Australia. The abuse carried on until she turned four and was perpetrated by a fellow female class mate several months older than her. The victim suffered beatings, being strangled and forced to undress during the yearlong abuse. Sexual assault was perpetrated which included being licked on her body and face as well as having objects used during her ordeal. Severe separation anxiety, nightmares, low self-esteem, difficulty learning and ...view middle of the document...
D., Putwain & A., Sammons, (2002), Psychology and crime. Routeledge, USA. p 46.
By viewing the Bobo doll experiment* it was demonstrated that children watch, learn and copy actions and behaviors they have been exposed to. The alleged offender would have had to observe or experience the same or similar abuse to be able to have the knowledge of the sexual acts and behaviors at such a young age. See NCTSN Sexual development and behavior in children, Table 1 for common sexual behaviors in childhood. At the age of 2 to 4 children are inquisitive and uninhibited about genitals and will touch themselves in public and touch others, ask to see other people naked. It is only at an older age a child becomes aware of the meaning of sex, genitals and behaviors associated with sex and keep it private. The alleged offender was aware to hide the assaults for more than a year which supports the concept that the behavior is a learnt result.
The social learning theory demonstrates that basic reinforcement, being rewarded or experiencing a sense of achievement when inflicting the abuse will influence the motivation to continue the abuse. For motivation of observational learning to be effective the behavior is encouraged by reinforcement and retribution. The alleged attacker may not have had to experience similar abuse but could have watched the abuse occur with retribution and or reinforcement following the experience or witnessing the behavior. Witnessing the reinforcement may be very effective in motivating observational learning.
Observed behaviors does not necessarily eventuate into learnt behaviors, as all children watching violent media does not have violent criminal tendencies. By reproducing the behavior the alleged attacker learnt and improved on her behavior. As the abuse continued over such a long period of time the alleged attacker had ample time to reproduce and increase the sexual assaults (by introducing objects during assaults). It stands to reason to deduct that harmful peers/parents are a key cause of the alleged offenders’ behavior. The alleged attacker continued the assaults for as long as she did as repetition and not being stopped caused the behavior to become chronic as it remained unidentified for a long period of time.
*The children in Bandura’s studies observed an adult acting violently toward a Bobo doll. When the children were later allowed to play in a room with the Bobo doll, they began to imitate the aggressive actions they had previously observed. D., Putwain & A., Sammons, (2002), Psychology and crime. Routeledge, USA. p 46.
The social learning theory is supported by many including Sutherland & Cressey , Sykes & Matza , Akers, Wolfgang & Ferracuti and Anderson and shares some ideas with the differential theory.
D. W. Osgood, J. K. Wilson, P. M. O'Malley, J. G. Bachman and L D. Johnston,(Aug.,1996) state that in the absence of authority figures and social structure,...