Hill, Jo (2011) Are children who commit violent acts against other children born evil? An evaluation through case studies. Other thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Mary Bell, Jon Venables, Robert Thompson and the ‘Edlington’ boys all committed serious violent acts against other children. The ‘why’ of these incidents was not explored in the court cases, yet child development research indicates that experiences significantly influence children’s behavioural tendencies.

A small-scale review of empirical case studies was used to help undertake a considered assessment of whether root causal factors may have been present in their backgrounds. Through an exploration of their backgrounds and family situations the possible risk factors of abuse and neglect during infancy; poor parental attachment during infancy; negative socialisation during infancy and genetic influences were selected. These themes were checked against the responses of interested parties. The responses were gained through open-ended questionnaires and telephone interviews and confirmed these risk factors, with neglect and abuse seeming to be the correlation which was most attributed to the development of violent tendencies.

Due to the nature of the study, the results cannot be purported to be generally applicable to all similar cases, but the results are worth considering and should instigate further study into this area.

Childhood Studies BA(Hons) dissertation
Jo_Hill_dissertation.pdf - Accepted Version

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