Social Work Research in Practice Settings: Youth Offenders in Australia

1.1  Context for the Research

High quality research within social context is significant for several reasons. Research within social context is performed in evaluating efficiency of the practice in which individuals engage in different programs using knowledge, experience and skills in gaining research efforts. The research is performed among group of individuals assessing the needs and resources. It helps in performing research using relative costs and resources building competencies among individuals.

It is important to adapt with different knowledge, values, norms and skills. Research work helps students to gain curiosity regarding research and evaluate how empirical work becomes crucial in performing research based onto social work. The study inculcates research methods in developing problem statement performing data analysis, dissemination and research-based practice providing deep insight into reasons for increased rate of youth offenders in Australia.

1.2 Aims for the Proposed Research          

1.2.1 Research aim   

The research aims at identifying the reasons for increasing number of youth offenders in and around Australia. The study uses various approaches in conducting the research focusing on interpretive approach and critical approach. Critical approach allows the researcher to undergo critical thought in revealing negative or faulty sociological claims. Critical approach focuses on set of theories and models in identifying notions and thought process of society and culture.

Research tends to analyze and question claims that has been made previously and ensure new mode interpretation gaining possibilities of outcome. While interpretive approach provides researcher with different points of view. It helps in performing research analyzing aspects of youth offenders and what led to its growth with deeper insight. This is done by accessing different aspects of reality and how earlier it has been neglected.

1.2.2 Research Objectives

  • Evaluate various nature of social work research
  • Incorporate research methodologies in conducting survey on proposed  social questions
  • Use appropriate research methodology in analysing different situations
  • Initiate development of personal and professional skills to tender opportunities for research
  • Ensure that the research work performed enlarge scope of work and study
  • Ensure that the research work is aligned with research objectives
  • Provide relevant and authentic data
  • Provide necessary loopholes earlier ignore and recommend possible solutions of growth

1.2.3 Research Questions 

The research questions the reasons why there are there a growth number of youth offenders in Australia and what the factors are that leads to their disappointments.

  • What are the reasons of growth in youth offenders?
  • Have you been suffering from mental illness?
  • What do you think of societies and parental responsibility towards children suffering from mental ill health?
  • Dose society contributes to mental pressure?
  • What leads one to major disappointments?
  • What are the side effects of mental health?
  • Do you recommend clinical battle or self-improvement approaches?
  • How well do you think can one make area of mental health problems and preventive measures?

1.3 Rationale for the Proposed Research  

The research implies greater significance as it contributes understanding in gravest debates of Australians. It is found that adult and teenagers are suffering from mental health since last 10 years with considerable increase.  The reasons of youth offenders are homicide, overdose of drugs, abuse behavior, and other natural causes. The adolescence is a period of transition; where one reach to a state of heightened position.

The research here in delves into the reasons, bringing in opportunities of development. It ensure activities like awareness programs, self-developments schemes and awareness, range of physical and academic challenges that will help in fighting back severe mental health issues. The study focuses on how adults can establish their identities through competency. Most importantly, it acts as guidelines for youth who are seeking greater independence and facing pressures from home and social environments. It questions number of respondents (irrespective of color, gender and sex) to study depressive orders and how they have been battling over time.

1.4  Scope of research

The research enlarges scope of studying mental ill health issue in wider context. It broadens the area of research enlarging core mechanisms, security and robustness of research, manageability and usability, economic viability, theoretical foundations in understanding various reasons that forces youth to undertake ill actions. The scope of research aims at deriving social needs and requirements through high-level conceptualization, privacy, large-scale management and economic viability and needs of social change. The study is conducted within college premises, gatherings of youth people, study centre but can be developed on sampling of household survey.

Chapter 2 Literature review

2.1 Previous literary review

According to Kinner et al. 2015, young offenders in Australia are highly at a risk for the preventable death after the release of the custody. The study of this chapter has aimed to define the process and causes of the risk factors that is associated with the death for the young offenders that is basically from the orders of the community based. The mortality rate has been highly increased at the age group between 10 to 17 years of age.

According to Cunneen, 2017, the paper has analyzed the use of the community for the young individual in regards to the various jurdictions in Australia that has created a great impact in the indigenous communities. It has also argue on the fact that there are different programs that has ignored the rights of Aboriginal in regards to self determination and it has to provide the simplify mechanisms for the indigenous communities.

2.2 Youth offenders- ABS

The chapter mainly aims to present about the characteristics of the young people who are known to be offenders. According to the Australian bureau Statistics the age of the offenders mainly ranges between 10 – 17 years (Pitt et al. 2016). They are mainly preceded   in the juvenile court. The characteristic of the offenders mainly involves with sex and age and that also includes the principle offences conducted by the principal offenders was handed over by the police. Some of the offenses are thus mainly excluded from the recorded crime (Broidy et al. 2015).  Accord to the ABS report, more than 55,000 of the youth offenders were recorded by the police and during 2016, there was the consequently number of the offenses recorded by the youth and their age mainly ranges between 10 to 17 years and for the fourth consecutive year the youth offenders accounted by 14 per cent of the total population and they were mainly. The people who aged between the 10 to 17 years mainly belong to the Australian residency.  The rate of the offenders among the youth has been tremendously increased in 2017. 

Among 2,330 offenders, it has been noticed that 10,000 offenders ranged between 10 to 17 years of age. In 2017, it has been also reported that more than 100,000 youth were the youths and that for the generated population. The crime rate among the youths is more in South Australia, Tasmania and the people belongs from the other territory. In 2016 year, as measured per 100,000 person’s age between 10 to 17 years of age, and it is the highest in the Northern Territory the crime range is around  2,962 and in Australian territory of capital the crime report recorded was around 884. It is worth mentioning on the fact that the proportion of the youth offenders is highest in Western Australia that aged ranges between 10 to 17 years of age. It is to be noted that 16 per cent of the total offenders are mainly from the Australia (Williams et al.2015).

Since the period of 2008 and 2009, the total number of the youth offenders has mainly declined in the offence categories (Anyon et al. 2016). The highest percentage decreases in the offence category. It is the said that homicide and the related offences that were fallen by 67 percent.  There was an offence against the justice that is fallen by 60 per cent. The figure rounded was rounded from 1500 to 608. The property damage issues were fallen by 53 per cent by youths in Australia (Cunneen, 2017).

From the expected trends it has been seen that illicit drug that has been increased by 47 per cent since 2008 and in 2009 and it has been tremendously increased by 35 per cent. Sexual assault and related offences has been increased at a higher rate by 35 per cent since 2009, the increased rate of the drug offenses has increased from 3920 to 5760 and the related offences related to the sexual assault has increased by 35 per cent among the youth offenders. 

The number of figure has been increased from 1103 to 1490. The youth offenders’ rate in Australia is generally higher in males as compared to females in Australia. The 70 percentage of the youth offenders was recorded to be around 70 percentages as compared to female it was around 30 percentages (Tonry, 2018).

2.3 Understanding and preventing indigenous offending

In this regard, most of the offenders found to be in a non indigenous prisoners, Survey for the national data has been collected in order to provide the information concerning the principal offence that has charged by police for the people aged 10, and as per the recorded report, over the period of 2008-09 and adults that has been incarcerated on 30 June 2009.

Information on police charges that has been only related to New South Wales, Queensland, because of concerns about the information quality in regards to other jurisdictions (Williams et al.2015). Offences, which has been charged by notices made due to penalty/infringement, which were thus excluded, from the given scenario it may be said that related toward public order as well as traffic offences. The focus is mainly on the principal offence that has been resulted to less serious offences that is being underrepresented for every individual that has been charged with more than having the multiple offences that has been related to the different type of the occasion.

The risk factors that is associated with the  Identifying issues  is merely differently from the identification of the causes that is merely like to be offending the  figure that is associated with the  reports made an attempt  for going beyond statistical correlation for the identified reasons for the  Indigenous people. It is  thus more offences, predominantly related with the  violent offences that has been  reported on violence suggested for the underlying factors for the  violent deficiency, elimination, the disempowerment of the respective elders that leads to hopelessness, defenselessness, desolation and rage (Tonry, 2018).

In addition to that, there are the situational factors such alcohol use, intertribal conflict and feuds associated with family, rate of unemployment and tediousness, broadminded attitudes of the individual of young Australia towards violence, all this has contributed due to the high use of violence. The report has noted that violent behavior of the individuals has been raised highly, such as fighting and payback, which has been practiced as a traditional culture, but it, is transferred vastly with the enormous and different status and devoid of traditional controls, and altogether it becomes dysfunctional. There is mere partial information related to the offending behaviors of youth and adults in regards to the community based information or for the youth detention (Pitt et al. 2016).

This has also made the availability for gaining the information that is highly essential for providing a national and profile for the fine-grained in regards to the generated contacts that Indigenous people have with the justice system. Data should facilitate exploration of the demographic and spatial distribution of offending to assist targeting of crime prevention initiatives (Shepherd et al. 2018).

2.4 Factors Related to Recidivism for Youthful Offenders

According to Malvaso, and Delfabbro (2015), Mental health is a major problem and the disorder has been linked to many youth aberrant behaviors and felony adjudication; despite the fact that it is not understandable if this type of link is being directed, and the difficulties had lead to added risk factors, ineffective decision-making, and the interaction that is associated with the other risks (Farrington and Koegl, 2015). At rest, reviews it has been found consistently that the numerous children and the numerous the youth has been involved with services that are related with the mental health.

It has significantly caused a higher risk for the involvement in juvenile court (Bor et al. 2014). There is several numbers of pathways that has been established that is linked with specific issues related with the difficulties related with the childhood mental health, and also to the involvement in the juvenile court.  The studies of the developmental science have found an associated behavioral problems and emotional problems such as the substance abuse. Correspondingly, it can be said that the aggressive behaviors of the children is found as a predictive of afterward aberrant behavior and activity of the child (Tubex et al. 2015).  

The problem related to the hyperactivity and hyperactivity are highly linked because of the high risk taking, and it is more violent and calculated  to be  found as  the offending behavior of the individuals (Ravulo, 2015). Disruptive behaviors in addition to emotional problems mainly in the early childhood are sign for later offending activities in the mind of the individual. Adding together, depression in childhood as well as hyperactivity disorder for attention-deficit (ADHD) is profoundly linked to later criminal behavior, which has been evidenced from side to side physical aggression of the young individuals and their pilfering behavior (Hall and Lynskey, 2016).

2.4 Literary gap

In the above literature review, the point, which has been missed out as it has not figured out the crime rate of the young females in Australia? The impact has resulted to the increased crime rate of the adults impact has been not evaluated in the literature review in a systematic way.  The certain step that has been taken in Juvenile court has not been described significantly. It is necessary to take note on the fact that the necessary steps that has been taken by the juvenile court need to explain that would be effective to carry out the research in an effective manner. The report has not analyzed the issues related to the mortality rate in Australia (Anyon et al. 2016).

2.5 Summary

By the means of the study, it can be concluded that the crime rate in Australia has been increased tremendously. The crime rate has been increased in the young individuals especially for the age ranges between 10 to 17 years.  The juvenile court is trying to make changes so that the laws should be more punitive and also with the order policies.

ABS has shown an impressive range for providing  data  which need to be used for assessing the  Māori contact by means of the justice system, however, information  related to the police contact can be calculated as trepidation slightly different  than individuals and there is totally  nonappearance of data in regards to  detention and alteration populations (Broidy et al. 2015). It is to be recognized on the fact that there are many quality issues in regards to the Indigenous identification and the necessitating for data linkages in order to   create the data for the individual level increase.

Chapter 3 Research Design

3.1 Epistemology and theoretical perspective

Epistemology helps the researcher to understand how we know and what we know about the gathered data and information. It helps in providing philosophical ground regarding decisions and authentication of knowledge ensuring legitimacy. It helps to identify the gap between ‘study of being’ and the scenario of reality’. The research has been conducted based on ontological notion of realism.

It helps the researcher to examine the interpretive mind and actions beyond the general mindset of an individual. The assertions made by the respondent are checked to be aligned with real life actions and problems. The answers gathered from respondents are independent of consciousness.  Objectivism in epistemological study of research helps research to ensure fulfilling of research targets and objectives (Pitt et al. 2015). The researcher further delves into the assumptions of respondent identifying if they are parallel to knowable reality. Transactional approach means the interaction between the interview and interviewer in examining rhetorical situation ‘constructed realities’.

On the other hand, subjectivist research deals with constructing impression of individual regarding reality and psychological world. Human is the owner and also the inseparable of natural setting. Interpretive approach and critical analysis help in gaining possible outcomes regarding youth mental illness and how to overcome the similar.

Reflexivity is an important factors those resolute interpretive needs in research. The interpretive approach help in positioning knowledge with deeper insight and take account of how assumptions are being made. According to theoretical perspective research need to conduct personal interview with concentrated population and probe into their answer with deep interpretation, gaining scope and directions for higher research. Reflexivity herein becomes an important factor that allow dynamic outlook, make it flexible for collective assumptions, deriving possible resolutions. Reflexivity uses hermeneutics of research practice with value-free propositions (Birckhead, 2015).

It eliminates obscene and dishonest assumptions and centers onto productive and objective information. There are different aspects such as interaction using empirical material (accounts in interviews, observations of respondents and their situations); interpretation (underlying meanings); critical interpretation (ideology, power and social reproduction) and reflection (selectivity of voices and claim to rightful data).

Another important theory applied in the research is constructivist grounded theory that was introduced by Charmaz based on the notions of Strauss and Glaser. The iterative procedure was established in 2006 regarding data-gathering technique in producing social, contextual and interpretative data (Mugford and Braithwaite, 2017). Theoretical mapping help in selecting data based on alignment with reality, emerging values and objectives. The research information is collected, interpreted and constructed through academic study of literature review, journal and articles. Ideas are gathered and constructed from emerging data, concepts, process, responses and theoretical saturation.  

Experimental research is conducted in analyzing reasons of youth offenders and mental illness. It helps to determine the information based on the responses collected and investigation of independent and dependent variable. It is use to explore notions of participants regarding mental illness developing hypothesis. According to Emil Durkheim, society help in developing self-built norms and beliefs beneficial for citizens regarded as social facts (Sutherland et al. 2015). The interview help in developing such facts in deriving required knowledge and information.

3.2 Research methods

Qualitative research is comparatively supportive in nature over Quantitative research.  The qualitative research method is used in research that help examining and reflecting on various aspects of research subject. It focuses on values, behavior pattern, attitudes and perceptions. The qualitative research depends on studying academic literature review, journals and articles.  It is important because the information collected can be challenged more easily.

On the other hand, deductive research need to help conducting research based on particular & situations.  It intends to study concepts and theories in deriving conclusive statements. Qualitative methodology help in deriving theoretical position that help in collecting information. The information collected in qualitative method that uses ‘professional’ under the supervision professional associations (Cale et al. 2015). This is performed by preparing questionnaires questionnaire that is structured and aligned with objectives conducting interviews or group discussion.

3.3 Population and sampling methods

The population comprise of 100 respondents centered on college students, adults and teenagers of school. The population has been dived into age group of 10-18, 19-24 and 25 and above. The research is conducted over different centers and spans for a month. Each day is recorded based on age groups. This is referred as systematic sampling method. It refers to steam of representative people over concentrated geography whose records and responses are collected and stored for future evaluation. The population concentrated is within the locale of Brisbane and New South Wales.

3.4 Ethics

The local youth centre has been carrying out research on targeted population, ensuring authentic data regarding youth offenders in Australia. It has been identified that on an average 40% of youth residing in the country are abusive and addicted to drugs.  The age group of 16-25 is currently suffering from ill mental health due to overuse of drugs (Shepherd et al. 2015).  The research aims at performing research on 100 individuals.

The questionnaire is made after prolong research on drug over dose, mental health, young offensive behavior and mortality rate with young people. Among the 100 respondents only 20 have been affected by issues relating to mental health and depression. The questionnaires have been distributed to the youth centre in gaining respondents within the age range of 20-25. Besides, questionnaires have been distributed among respondents in local shopping centre, local colleges and night clubs.

The distribution of questionnaires provided insight regarding youth’s understanding of over use of drugs and in gaining an insight into their thought process (Shepherd et al. 2015). The questions prepared were kept devoid of hurting anyone’s sentiments.  The questions have been prepared keeping ethical standards.

The basic principles followed in conducting research over concentrated respondent are minimizing risks and identify root causes; obtain informed consent; ensure confidentiality; limit deceptive practice; avoid hurting sentiments of respondents and ensure right to withdraw. Since, the survey involved human participants, their thought process and cultural values need to be prioritized as it can raise political and social issues. Following basic principles and terms will help in gaining trust, fairness and kindness from respondents, providing authentic and relatable answers.

Consistency in following standards and principles will allow meaningful results. The major issues like anonymity, privacy, loss of data and piracy need to be governed. In gaining information rightly, it is important to consent with research integrity. It involves being honest and accurate from respondent’s side. Ethical approval hereby allows conducting research without causing any harm to whole process and protects reviews of respondents (Bor et al. 2015).

3.5 Data analysis

As per evident, approximately, 5% of Australians among youths has been experiencing rapid mental health issues in every 7 days. It is likely to increase of 5% by 2020. There is no accountability of male outnumbers women, but as per respondents women are growing considerably higher since past few years.  The growth in abuse disorders tends to increase with time. Prevalence of mental illness has considerably decreased mortality rates as it increases number of suicides in the country (Kinner et al. 2015). Mental illness is prevalent high among19-25 year olds. It is estimated that 1/3rd of adults accounting to 9 million experience mental illness leaving them with trauma.  

As per 2015 evaluation, 1 of 5 youth from the age group of 14-19 is suffering from extreme mental disorder. There has been no decrease but considerable increase.  The point of worry is anxiety disorders that is succeeding common in U.K and U.S. earlier it was not rampant in Australia but with gradual increase of intake of drugs, results affecting 40 million adults. Notably, individuals suffering from anxiety and depression receives treatment but leaves one weak mentally for prolong number of years.

Among the 100 respondent, 20 respondent aging from 19-4 is suffering from either bipolar depression or anxiety (far of mixing with people). Their responses seem valid more because of abrupt and unsupportive social actions (Pitt et al. 2016). As per evaluation, there individual are unable to stay and live freely as per their wishes, resulting in intake of abusive drugs. Parent seems not cooperative and causing generation gap among parent and children. Until proper discussion and freedom to speak and act, there can be no justice made to this age group.

They have been living with anxiety mostly for 2 years and above. It is important for parents to guide children and support the at every level. Proper communication and coordination will help in finding reliance over drugs. Subsequently, preventive measures and education will spread awareness. As per 2015 estimation, male population tends to meet the criteria for suffering from serious mental illness (Farrington and Koegl, 2015). Community based, family based, education based recovery orientated supports will be beneficial over clinical approaches in providing awareness and care services.

Youths need to be engaged with rehabilitation programs, awareness program and youth-friendly mental health service. This will help to advocate on issues regarding various mental health (Hall and Lynskey, 2016). Young people need to be experts in making right actions and decisions limiting adverse affects of mental illness.

3.6 Dissemination

This paper deals with a very important sociological aspect which is mental health. Mental health in turn affects human beings, especially the younger generation. It is significant to understand the value of sound mental health which helps to build a sane individual. However, it is not the case always. Certain internal and external factors of society forces individuals go grow a crooked mind and they turn towards crime as an outburst.

The current and sudden increase in the number of young people committing crime and getting arrested for it have reached a level where it has became a disturbing national aspect in Australia. Therefore, through thorough research and in depth study individuals need to identify on time the reasons leading to this issue. The youth of the nation and their parents and guardians have to be approached while conducting this disturbing survey and have to acquaint them with the emerging dangers of the society and its people.

This paper uses appropriate models and theories to identify and understand the study required to know about the mentally derogatory ideas which make the young people commit crimes like theft and violence and drug abuse. The issue is dealt keeping in mind the social and political weather of Australia and dispersed strategically by influencing people.

Chapter 4: Conclusion and recommendations  

4.1 Conclusions

The paper had the objective of providing valuable information on the sociological problems which has resulted in the increased number of young offenders. Australia and it’s surroundings are heavily disturbed by the outcomes of different issues like peer pressure, problematic behavior, insufficient income, drug abuse, criminal parents, isolation from society, lack of education or community, etc. These issues were identified by proper interpretive and critical approaches of study and proved valuable for the researchers and the society as well.

This research work when put to practical use will provide for the strategies required to eradicate the factors disturbing the youth who are the future of the nation. It enquires about important aspects like why is the youth turning bad, what are the social reasons behind mental illness, what are the disappointing notions causing the degradation of mental health, etc. The paper also provides with certain solutions which can be effective when implemented strategically. It questions the notions of realism and legitimacy of certain laws. However, it provides a qualitative analysis of how acquiring knowledge is the ultimate way of evolution and development.

4.2 Recommendations

When one views and reviews the tragic condition of the Australian young generation, one cannot but feel sad for them. It has been identified and researched that how various factors are responsible for the degradation of the youth. These factors might be the internal trauma a child faces when he is young in his family circle. It can be the society or social obligations and norms which affects him adversely. It can be the lack of education or the unavailability of basic resources like food and clothing.

Therefore, it is necessary to locate those issues and then trying to eradicate them. It can be done through proper education, valuable counseling, appropriate corrective measures taken by the parents, educators, social workers, etc. One has to understand that these offenders can be male or female and can be of any age but it is more prominent in the age group of 10-17. Therefore, any necessary actions taken has to consider the age and sex of the offender and the employ valuable corrective measures. The youth in South Australia and Tasmania as well as the Northern Territory are degrading fast and low. Reflection on the offend is required before taking drastic measures and destroying the future of a child.

Reference list

Birckhead, T.R., 2015. Children in isolation: The solitary confinement of youth. Wake Forest L. Rev., 50, p.1.

Bor, W., Dean, A.J., Najman, J. and Hayatbakhsh, R., 2014. Are child and adolescent mental health problems increasing in the 21st century? A systematic review. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry48(7), pp.606-616.

Brown, D., Cunneen, C., Schwartz, M., Stubbs, J. and Young, C., 2016. Justice reinvestment: Winding back imprisonment. Springer.

Cunneen, C., 2017. Community conferencing and the fiction of indigenous control. In Restorative Justice (pp. 335-354). Routledge.

Farrington, D.P. and Koegl, C.J., 2015. Monetary benefits and costs of the Stop Now and Plan Program for boys aged 6–11, based on the prevention of later offending. Journal of Quantitative Criminology31(2), pp.263-287.

Hall, W. and Lynskey, M., 2016. Evaluating the public health impacts of legalizing recreational cannabis use in the United States. Addiction111(10), pp.1764-1773.

Kinner, S.A., Degenhardt, L., Coffey, C., Hearps, S., Spittal, M., Sawyer, S.M. and Patton, G.C., 2015. Substance use and risk of death in young offenders: a prospective data linkage study. Drug and alcohol review34(1), pp.46-50.

Malvaso, C.G. and Delfabbro, P., 2015. Offending behaviour among young people with complex needs in the Australian out-of-home care system. Journal of Child and Family Studies24(12), pp.3561-3569.

Mugford, S. and Braithwaite, J., 2017. Conditions of Successful Reintegration Ceremonies: Dealing with Juvenile Offenders. In Restorative Justice (pp. 3-35). Routledge.

Pitt, H., Thomas, S.L. and Bestman, A., 2016. Initiation, influence, and impact: adolescents and parents discuss the marketing of gambling products during Australian sporting matches. BMC public health16(1), p.967.

Shepherd, S.M., Luebbers, S., Ferguson, M., Ogloff, J.R. and Dolan, M., 2014. The utility of the SAVRY across ethnicity in Australian young offenders. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law20(1), p.31.

Tonry, M. ed., 2018. Crime and Justice, Volume 47: A Review of Research (Vol. 47). University of Chicago Press.

Tubex, H., Brown, D., Freiberg, A., Gelb, K. and Sarre, R., 2015. Penal diversity within Australia. Punishment & Society17(3), pp.345-373.

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