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Session 5 youth crime the media.2016

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Violent and Sexually Offending Young People 05

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Session 5 youth crime the media.2016

  1. 1. 1 5. Youth crime, behavioural norms & the media 15 slides John Clark
  2. 2. 2 Media influences  Creating stereotypes  Social constructions of crime & young people  Demonisation & distortion  Ratboy et al.  Stephen’s case study  Moral Panics  Propensity for violence  Authoritarianism  Sexual offending - power
  3. 3. 3  “According to our daily press, a typical adolescent is a sporting youngster, criminally inclined and likely to be injured or murdered” Porteous & Colston in Muncie p. 10 1980  Such a menu is likely to be both factually incorrect, socially divisive and also leads to:
  4. 4. 4  Young people being routinely parodied as victims, demons, cute, brilliant, brave or adult accessories (dependant on age, class, gender & ethnicity). John Clark 2010
  5. 5. The Daily Mail song  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eBT6OSr1TI 5
  6. 6. 6 Social construction of official statistics Press headline reaction to official H.O. crime stats (Jan 2008) ranked by circulation  30 gun crimes committed a day (the Sun)  Drug offences soar 21% in a single year (Daily Mail)  Home Secretary says crime figures are excellent (Mirror)  Gun crime up as Smith says UK safer than ever (Telegraph)  Government accused over crime rises (Daily Express & Star)  Fewer robberies, assaults & burglaries , but crime at gunpoint is on the rise (The Times)  Crime falling ever faster, but drug & gun offences increase (Guardian)  Risk of becoming victim of crime at 27 year low (Independent)
  7. 7. 7 Research findings show:  Distortion of the nature and incidence of crimes against the person  Youth Crime reported by a deviance defining elite  Stereotyping offenders  Atypical crimes heavily reported  Reality not reflected. Emphasis on crime waves rather than incident  Moral panic produces fear of crime  Crime is newsworthy.
  8. 8. 8  ‘ONE BOY CRIME WAVE’ (Daily Mail 10th Nov 1992)  ‘RAT BOY: A 14 YEAR OLD BECOMES A BYWORD FOR TROUBLE’ (Independent, 9th Oct 1993)
  9. 9. 9 Alleged to have committed 55 offences by the time he was 14, one boy in north- east England first came to the notice of Police when he was 10, for burglary. After two Cautions his parents volunteered him for local authority care, from which he absconded 37 times. In February 1993 he was found hiding in a ventilation duct. A local newspaper could not print his name so invented the nickname Ratboy. Next day he was front-page national news. With the construction of images of sewers, of a hidden underworld and of secret tunnels running underneath the urban landscape, the boy became a symbol of all juvenile crime against which the police and courts were ‘impotent’ to act (despite the existence of local authority secure units). But in many other respects did not live up to the prevailing stereotypes of dangerous and outcast youth. He did not come from a broken home; he was not violent; he did not grow up in some ‘urban wasteland’; he became a ‘symbol surrounded by ‘clichés’ (Independent 1993). Again, in 1993 an 11 year old crashed a car through a fence. When he appeared on national television in a black ski mask, he became Balaclava boy. Spider boy, Homing pigeon boy, Boomerang boy and the Terror Triplets all followed until it was decided that in certain circumstances young offenders could be publicly named. Source: Muncie 2004, p.28.
  10. 10. 10 Violence in children & young people  Violence, where does it come from?  Do we learn how to use violence-  Or do we learn how to curb it  What would we be capable of given different circumstances? War torn childhoods, harsh or abusive childhoods, an infancy with no boundaries imposed  Being subject by adults to harsh and authoritarian regimes.
  11. 11. 11 Stephen’s case Offence: Breach of ASBO.  12yr old Stephen lives with his mother and 14 yr old brother in local authority housing on a large estate.  There is a Leisure Centre near by which is also a One Stop Shop containing offices for the area Youth Offending Service team and Housing & Social Care services.  The centre also contains swimming and sports facilities and serves as a local community centre .Youth service provision is provided from the same centre.  When Stephen was 10 he was identified as a nuisance at the centre and banned from attendance, by the time he was 11 yrs old he was made subject to an Anti-Social Behaviour Order as a result of displaying threatening and abusive & violent behaviour toward security staff at the Centre.  Stephen is subject to a statement of Special Educational Needs on behavioural and learning grounds and attends a school for children with special educational needs (although he is currently excluded for disruptive behaviour). His mother indulges in periodic binge drinking and is finding it hard to cope with Stephen because of the ASBO and the problems at school. Stephen is also described as being loving and affectionate and devotes a great deal of care on his cat and dog.  Stephen lives across the road from the Centre and his ASBO prohibits him from any contact with the Centre at all. He breached the order by entering the Centre through a window and running around being abusive & threatening, shouting & generally causing mayhem.
  12. 12. 12 Stephen’s case – task (20 minutes) Your task is to work in small groups and: 1. As a group, put together a headline and a short article (a two or three paragraphs) on Stephen in the style of a national newspaper of your choice. 2. Nominate one member of the group (who is willing) to read out your article to the wider group.  Guardian, Independent, Times, Telegraph, Mail, Mirror, Star, Sun etc.
  13. 13. 13 Progressive moral panics • 2011 Summer riots • 2010 Student unrest • 2000’s Anti-social thugs & yobs • 1990’s Joyriding, Girl Gangs • 1980’s Riots and Social Disorder • 1970’s Black Youth, Punks – Violence and muggings • 1960’s Student Unrest- Drug use and sexual permissiveness • 1950’s Post war moral decline, Teddy boys-Violent, Depraved & sex crazed
  14. 14. 14 Moral panics ctd  2012+ – what groups today?  And tomorrow? Do the media reflect public opinion or form and lead it ? Do politicians react to media headlines or manipulate them?
  15. 15. 15 Moral panics & authoritarianism Identification of a problem (e.g. football hooliganism)  Identification of a subversive minority (e.g. the ‘few who spoil the enjoyment of millions; identification by styles – punks, skinheads, traveller & immigrant communities etc)  Simplification of a cause (e.g. Decline in moral standards, lack of discipline etc)  Stigmatisation of those involved (Media use of emotive & disparaging significations e.g. Morons, animals, savages etc)  Stirring of public indignation (e.g. Media campaigns calling for ‘action’; criticism of ‘soft’ sentences; evocation of ‘national image’, etc)  Stamping down hard (e.g. Gov’t responds to ‘public demand’ as presented by the media. Stiffer sentences; more ‘anti hooligan’ legislation, bans of spectators, etc) More authoritarian forms of control Muncie (2006 edition . p.128.)
  16. 16. The law & order myth, looking back to the golden age (thinking of ourselves as a naturally law abiding nation)  “We need to consider why the peaceful people of England are changing……………..Over the 200 years up to 1945 Britain became so settled in internal peace that many came to believe that respect for the person & property of fellow citizens was something that existed naturally” Daily Telegraph, 11th March 1982  Was it ever so? Explore social history from 1745
  17. 17. A social comment on the lawlessness that prevailed in 1856
  18. 18. 18 Sexual offending by children  Needs distinguishing from experimentation  Is not a common offence but-  Many adult sex offenders begin their offending as adolescents  The behaviours are usually about power not sex  Unlike other types of offending young people grow into it rather than out of it.

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