Gender and the youth justice family group conference outcome.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Part 1 of this study examined family group conference (FGC) outcomes (a statutory mechanism of the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989) for young offenders. Part 2 examined the acceptability of FGC outcomes for young offenders. Part 1: Data on 253 distinct youth offending cases for which an FGC was held during 1992-93 was gathered from New Zealand Children and Young Persons Service (NZCYPS) records in Christchurch. Gender of the young offender was shown not to be significantly related to FGC outcome severity. Seriousness of the offence, number of current offences, 'other' people (entitled under the legislation to attend only with the approval of the young offender's family), and greater numbers of the young offender's family attending the FGC were independently associated with a more severe outcome. Part 2: The acceptability of five alternative FGC outcomes (formal warning, freedom restriction, reparation, community work, and a sentence of supervision) were compared. A total of 83 respondents from three sample groups in Christchurch (NZCYPS, police and the general public) rated the outcomes according to their allocation to one of four written descriptions which presented a male or female of 14 or 16 years committing an offence. The major findings were (1) A significant difference in the acceptability of each outcome. Reparation was the most acceptable outcome followed by community work, freedom restriction, supervision, and the warning. (2) Gender and age of the young offender and type of respondent did not significantly distinguish the acceptability of each outcome. (3) There was a significant interaction effect between the age of the respondent and outcome acceptability. (4) Factor analysis showed outcome acceptability was influenced by three factors. Factor 1 was interpreted as making amends to the victim, Factor 2 was interpreted as deterrence, and Factor 3 was interpreted as how humane the outcome was.