Alluhaibi, Maha (2014) Family violence, negative outcomes and female delinquency: an empirical investigation using a Saudi Arabian sample. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

While there is extensive research on family violence and delinquency in Western literature, this topic is notably rare in Arab literature, including that from Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, although the association between being exposed to family violence and committing delinquent acts has been established in several Western studies, less is known about this association in the Saudi setting. This study sought to explore the extent and nature of these two phenomena in Saudi Arabia. It also aimed to examine the risk and protective factors that might be associated with the likelihood that girls who had experienced or witnessed family violence would then go on to commit delinquent acts.

Given the dearth of literature on the association between family violence and female delinquency in Saudi Arabia, an exploratory study design was considered as the most appropriate method for this research. Data were collected through a self-completed questionnaire. The study sample consisted of 12- to 18-year-old female students (n=422) from intermediate and secondary schools in the Makkah area (western Saudi Arabia).

Both family violence and female delinquency were found to have a relatively high prevalence. Physical abuse was shown to be the most common form of family violence, and brothers were the most common perpetrators of physical and sexual abuse. These results, which contrasted with a number of Western and other Saudi studies, point to sibling abuse as an area that is in need of further investigation. The current study indicated that violent offences, reported by 35 percent of the participants, were the most prevalent type of delinquency. This was unanticipated, given the highly conservative nature of Saudi society.

The current study demonstrated significant associations between risk factors and the likelihood of female delinquency. In addition, the research suggests that if protective factors are absent or weak, then the likelihood that a young female will commit an antisocial behaviour offence is higher. Females exposed to family violence were found to be less likely to commit violent offences.

The findings of the present study suggest that the problems of family violence and female delinquency are relatively common. More research is needed to assess the extent and nature of these problems at the national level. Moreover, the government should implement new policies and practices to address these problems head-on.

malluhaibifinalthesis.pdf - Submitted Version

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