The Role of Family in Abnormality and Crime of Children with a Case Study


1 Associate Professor, University of Tehran - Campus Farabi, Tehran, Iran.

2 Department of law - Islamic Azad university - Naragh branch - naragh- Iran .


Family is one of the most important grounds of crime and crime victimization development. The experts, welfare workers, lawyers and sociologists argue that the factor or factors should be identified that provide the kind of conditions under which the individuals abuse, tolerate or accept the crime in order to secure the society, reduce the social harms and finally propose the procedures to reform it.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the crime victimization of children in the city of Qom. So, a questionnaire was distributed and completed through the interviews with the parents live in this city and who have a child or children. The questionnaires were analyzed by the SPSS software. The sample size was 266 individuals. The findings of research show that there is a meaningful inverse relationship among the children' control by their families, the rate of children belonging to their families, family cohesion and tendency towards criminal behavior. In other words, as the above mentioned variables increase, the children' tendency towards criminal behaviors decrease and vice versa. The analysis of variance (ANOVA) test was used to compare the family structure with the children' tendency towards criminal behaviors. The result of this test shows a significant difference. In other words, the comparison of means suggests that the children with separated parents are more inclined to criminal behaviors.


Statement of Problem

Crime has been defined in various ways. It seems that the most complete definition that has been presented according to the views of experts in different fields is that the crime is an action which is contrary to the rules, regulations and laws of the society and leads to the legal proceeding and prosecution. So, those who commit such acts are called criminals. (Farjad, 1992: 169).

Although the adolescents and youth's crime always has been a part of communities problem, but it never has been too cute as a social problem but the rise of adolescents and youth's crime after the nineteenth century especially the violent and atrocity crimes has been considered as one of the great social problems that has raised concerns of world public opinions. In this respect, the recent reports of United Nations indicate that the rate of crime is growing throughout the world and the crime rate increases more than the population growth. Hence, crime especially among the children and adolescents is one of the most complicated and important problems that threat the communities and draw attention of many sociologists, psychologists, criminologists and educational professionals. The consequences of crime among the children, in addition to the overall losses to these kind of  individuals and communities, is the national capital loss and destruction of forces and talents of young individuals who are the most important asset of any nation. Also, the enormous cost of reparation has to be spent each year including capture, tracking, maintenance and rehabilitation of children and adolescents. The worst thing is that unfortunately the treatment of crime is not always enough and the evidence show that the most criminal children and adolescents continue this way in the adulthood. With regards to the above cases and the belief that the prevention is much easier and more effective than treatment, the opportunities should be seized, the emergence areas of such problems should be eliminated in the society and the factor or factors of crime should be investigated in order to prevent the crime.  

The recent studies show that the social harms are growing in the communities, so the factor or factors of crime should be identified to solve the problem completely.

Family is one of the most important grounds of crime and crime victimization development. The experts, welfare workers, lawyers and sociologists argue that the factor or factors should be identified that provide the kind of conditions under which the individuals abuse, tolerate or accept the crime in order to secure the society, reduce the social harms and finally propose the procedures to reform it.

The purpose of this study is to investigate the cause or causes and conditions of crime victimization of children where the most important conditions include education, job, income level, age, disputes, divorce, death, drug addiction and mental disorders of parents and so forth.


1- There is a meaningful relationship between the rate of children's control by their families and tendency of children to criminal behaviors.

2- There is a meaningful relationship between the children belonging to their families and tendency of children to criminal behaviors.

3- There is a meaningful relationship between the family cohesion and tendency of children to criminal behaviors.

4- There is a meaningful relationship between the family structure and tendency of children to criminal behaviors.

Theories of Victimology

The theories of criminology focused on criminal acts have been considerably ignored for many years. Then, a group of researchers found that the victim is not a neutral subject in crime but the victim is a individual whose behavior has effect on his/her fate. Stephens Chofer suggests that the victim may assist a criminal act with the intention of becoming a victim. Therefore, he argues that the focus on victim is necessary to establish a crime.

Role of victim in stimulating a criminal act: the victim may stimulate and encourage a criminal act. The concept of stimulation and encourage of victim became well known by Marvin Wolfgang in 1958. He found that the crime victim is often involved in his/her death and 25% of all homicides may occur as a result of stimulating and encouraging of crime victims. There are two types of stimulation and encourage of victim:

A: active stimulation and encourage: when it is realized that the victim acts as a stimulant and use the controversial words to threat the criminal or attack fist.

For example, some experts suggest that the female rape or sexual assault victims stimulate the crime by wearing the provocative dresses, although these kinds of findings are negated.  But the courts have appealed the acquittal verdict in some cases of rape victims where the victim's act is interpreted as companionship or intimacy.

B: Inactive stimulation and encourage: when the victim, with regards to his/her character, has no intention to encourage the aggressive. For example as a woman got promoted, she will become a target of primary violence by her jealous husband or friend.

2- Lifestyle Theory

Some criminologists believe that the individuals may be the victim of crime because their lifestyle increases the risk of victimization as a result of committing a crime. Such conditions increase the risk of victimization: gangs' membership, carrying of weapons, selling drugs and so one. It is possible that the individuals are being shot or killed by a group of insiders in these cases or the college students who go to party many nights a week or use the drugs possibly are more exposed to the violent crimes than the individuals who avoid living like that. This theory suggests that an individual can reduce the possibility of victimization by engaging in less risky behaviors. The basis of this theory is that the crime is not accidental and it depends on lifestyle of a crime victim.

3- Routine Activity Theory

This theory seems to be a reliable way to understand the crime and characteristics of victimization and predict the risk of victimization (6).

Routine Activity Theory's Graph

The appropriate targets: lack of reliable protection

1- bleak houses, owners of house, 2-cop 3- the cars which are not locked, 4- supervisor neighbors, 5- unprotected shops, 4- security officers, 5- cop

Motivated offenders:

1- Young men, 2- jobless individuals, 3- excessive users of alcohol and drugs, 4- unaccompanied youth, 5- gang's members

There are many problems in understanding the cause or causes of victimization which include the lack of precise statistical data about the crime victims. When there is no statistical data about the crime victims in Iran, it decreases the possibility of analyzing the causes of victimization. Therefore, analysis of cause or causes of victimization is practically impossible. Because it is necessary to introduce the laws and regulations to the citizens and raise their awareness and education to prevent the victimization, i.e. inform the prevention procedures of victimization to the people in order to reduce the rate of crime victims.

Social Control theory

Trois Hirsch is one of the most important theorists in this field. He suggests that dependency of an individual to society has four main elements:

The first element is Interest or relationship with the specific, important and surrounding people. this means that those who are interested in their surrounding people are more responsible towards them and they are more concerned with their satisfaction. On the contrary, those who are not that way have no concerns about others so they are more likely to destruct their social relationships and take the risky behaviors.

The second element is commitment. It means something the people owe to society.

Hirsch states that most people attempt to get a better life and reserve the material and non-material assets. Whatever the people invest more in things such as education, career and etc, they are more likely to conform to the social norms to protect their achievements. Conversely, those who have nothing to lose as a result of a criminal act are more likely to commit the criminal acts.

The third element is participation in the healthy activities. Hirsch argue that the time and energy of individuals is limited, so the individuals who spend their time and energy for their career, family life, sport and so forth have little time left to participate in the criminal acts.

The fourth element is belief which means the loyalty of individuals to their values or ethics. If an individual or a group believe that an action is abnormal and deviant, it is unlikely that they commit such an action. On the contrary, those who are not adhering to social beliefs are more likely to violate the social values and norms.

According to Hirsch's theory, a group whose members have strong mutual dependencies will control their members better than a group who are not strongly dependent on each other. (Robertson, 1993, free interpretation of P: 175).

Family Anomie Theory

A group of researchers refer to the effect of family on the children in filed of risky behaviors which include the family structure, unhappy family, disorganized family, family dimension, economic situation, living place of family and investigate the social harms in this perspective. William Goode is among those who have performed researches in this field. Goode uses the concept of anomie and its application in the family and argue that any disruption in the family are involved in the formation of abnormal characters in the family. He believes that when one or more members of the family fail to do their duties, the family will be at risk of disruption. This kind of disruption is caused by a number of factors which include:

A- Absence of father in the home because of death, divorce or busyness where the mother has to do all duties and play the father role.

B- Absence of mother in the home where the motherly role in the family is faced with problem.

C- Weak and even conflicting relationships among the family members which cause poor interaction among the members where there is a weak sense of empathy and solidarity among them.

Goode argue that the family meet the physical and emotional needs of members, and helps them to know themselves. Also, the family is the place of education. Development and flourishing of children. In the point of Good's view, the factors leading to disturbances and anomic conditions in the family structure are as follows:

1- Lack of Legitimacy, i.e. there is no father in the home and the mother has to do all duties. Failure of family's members, mother or father to do his/her duties is one of the causes of lack of legitimacy.

2- Termination, separation, divorce cessation or the condition under which one parent refuses to perform his/her duties

3- Hollow family where the members live with each other but they have no mutual relationship so that they lack of emotional support for each other.

4- Failure to perform the main duties because of maim or illness. In this case, the illness is the origin of disruption in the family.

As before said Goode used the integration procedure and explained the women's drug addiction and their sexual deviance by combining the micro and macro factors. He pays attention to the significant effect of family on emergence or non-emergence of deviant behaviors and suggests that any kind of disruption in the family lead to drug addiction and subsequent sexual deviances in children (Mohseni Tabrizi, 2004, pp: 70-71).

Preferential Associations

Sutherland proposed two concepts. The first one is the concept of white collar criminals who are the influential individuals and though they commit crime, they are not prosecuted due to their political, social or economical position and even if they are prosecuted, they will not be convicted, hence crimes of this kind of individuals are among the black statistics of crime. The second concept is preferential associations that is the complete form of Tard Theory. According to this theory, the individuals are members of various groups where they have special culture, so they have an orientation towards the social norms in the manner that if it is positive, the members are less likely to commit crime.

Merton's Strain Theory

Merton presented his theory around two issues of end and means i.e. he said that every culture determine a series of ends for its followers, so it is considered success to achieve this kind of ends. For example, having money is the sign of success in U.S.A and the culture determines the way to achieve the end. Where the means which is referred by that culture is not enough to achieve the end, the individuals will be under pressure because the culture considers them lazy and unable to achieve those ends. Hence, the individuals replace the end or means in some cases. Therefore, we observe five different reactions:

1- Conformity: the individual accepts both of end and culture.

2- Innovation: the individual accepts the end but deny the culture.

3- Traditional worship: the end is nor important for the individual but he/she accepts the means.

4- Solit