Violence by Teenage Girls: Trends and Context

According to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, from 1991 to 2000, arrests of girls increased more (or decreased less) than arrests of boys for most types of offenses. By 2004, girls accounted for 30 percent of all juvenile arrests. However, questions remain about whether these trends reflect an actual increase in girls’ delinquency or changes in societal responses to girls’ behavior. To find answers to these questions, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) convened the Girls Study Group to establish a theoretical and empirical foundation to guide the development, testing, and dissemination of strategies to reduce or prevent girls’ involvement in delinquency and violence. The Girls Study Group Series, of which this Bulletin is a part, presents the Group’s findings. The series examines issues such as patterns of offending among adolescents and how they differ for girls and boys; risk and protective factors associated with delinquency, including gender differences; and the causes and correlates of girls’ delinquency.


  • Margaret A. Zahn
  • Release Date: May, 2018







    Delinquent Girls: Contexts, Relationships, and Adaptation

    Traditionally, delinquent girls were considered an anomaly, a rare phenomenon attracting little scholarly notice. Today, more than one in four youth offenders is female, and researchers and practitioners alike are quickly turning their attention and resources to address this challenging situation. Delinquent Girls: Contexts, Relationships, and Adaptation synthesizes what is known about girls involved in delinquent behavior and their experiences at different points in the juvenile justice system. This breakthrough volume adds to the understanding of this population by offering empirical analysis not only of how these behaviors develop but also about what is being done to intervene.


  • Shari Miller
    Leslie D. Leve
    Patricia King
  • Release Date: January, 2018








    Relation Between Witnessing Violence and Drug Use Initiation Among Rural Adolescents: Parental Monitoring and Family Support as Protective Factors

    This study examined the relation between witnessing violence and drug use initiation among 6th graders attending middle schools in 5 rural counties and investigated the extent to which family support and parental monitoring moderated this relation. Data were obtained from 1,282 adolescents at 2 time points during the 6th grade. Witnessing violence predicted subsequent initiation of cigarette, beer and wine, liquor, and advanced alcohol use. Adolescents who reported high levels of family support and parental monitoring were less likely to initiate use across all drug categories except beer and wine. High levels of parental monitoring and family support were effective in buffering the relation between witnessing violence and initiation of cigarette and advanced alcohol use at low levels of witnessing violence. With increasing levels of witnessing violence, however, the protective effects of monitoring and support were substantially diminished. These findings have important implications for research and intervention efforts.


  • Terri Sullivan
    Eva Kung
    Albert Farrell
  • Release Date: September, 2004




    OJJDP Policy Guidance

    Today, nearly 30 percent of juveniles arrested are girls or young women and their share of arrests, detainment, and court cases has steadily increased over the past two decades. Unfortunately their stories remain unchanged. Often girls of color and girls living in poverty, they are victims of violence, including physical and sexual abuse. They are typically nonviolent and pose little or no risk to public safety. And their involvement with the juvenile justice system usually does more harm than good.


  • Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
  • Release Date: April, 2018


    Exposure to violence and associated health-risk behaviors among adolescent girls

    Adolescents exposed to violence are at increased risk of multiple adverse health behaviors. Programs designed to improve health outcomes should target this high-risk group.


  • Berenson AB, Wiemann CM, McCombs S.
  • Release Date: November, 2018




    Unintended Consequences: Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence Mandatory and Pro-Arrest Policies and Practices on Girls & Young Women

    Unintended Consequences arose from the Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP) roundtable discussion that was attended by advocates representing the violence against women and juvenile justice reform for girls communities. This report provides background information about the unintended consequences and impact of mandatory and pro-arrest domestic violence policies on girls, young women and women, as well as the disproportionate impact on communities of color, and summarizes the discussions for future policy and practice reform.


  • Francine T. Sherman
  • Release Date: