Outreach social workers for at-risk youth: A test of their attitudes towards crime and young offenders in Hong Kong

Wing Hong Chui, Heng Choon (Oliver) Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In Hong Kong, outreach social workers, a distinct group of social workers, are encouraged to initiate and maintain contact with young people who are perceived as "at-risk" of undesirable influences. In this study, 80 outreach social workers (45 females and 35 males) are recruited to explore their attitudes towards crime and young offenders in Hong Kong. Four measures (Attitudes towards the Causes of Crime Scale, Attitudes towards the Prevention of Crime Scale, Attitudes towards the Treatment of Crime Scale, and Attitudes towards Prisoner scale were self-administered by the participants. Overall, male and female participants are relatively similar in their perception in these four measures, with an exception that female participants are more likely than their male counterparts to perceive crimes as caused by nature (heredity and individual) factors. An ordinary least square regression indicates that the increase in years working as social workers is equally likely to reduce their probability to perceive crimes as caused by nature and nurture (social and environmental) factors. More research is required to explore further for such trend. As expected, the increase in years working as outreach social workers is likely to increase their likelihood to support for social intervention preventive measures. Finally, age is a salient attitudinal predictor of offender treatment approach, with older participants likely to hold more punitive attitudes towards offenders. Limitations and implications for future research are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2273-2279
Number of pages7
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume34
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • At-risk youth
  • Attitudes
  • Hong Kong Chinese
  • Outreach social workers
  • Young offenders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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