The Intergenerational Transmission of Violence: Testimonials from Prison

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Apr 2018
Olson, Eric L.;Pantzer, Robert;Bastien-Olvera, Gustavo Mauricio;Wolfenzon, Denisse
This article, based on an analysis of the Survey of Convicted Prisoners from eight Latin American countries, helps to expand knowledge about the association between victimization in childhood and the criminal behavior of individuals who have been incarcerated. The results of the multivariate regression models show that having grown up in a home in which the father/partner beat the mother (“indirect” violence) mainly affects women when it comes to future criminal behavior (both their likelihood of being repeat offenders and of having possessed firearms). At the same time, having been a “direct” victim of abuse is a factor that clearly affects women and men alike in terms of the possibility of their becoming repeat offenders, although this much more affects men when it comes to firearm possession. This article suggests that prevention-oriented interventions must take into account these gender differences to be more effective. Women seem to be affected by both types of victimization during childhood, which indicates that intervention strategies for the female population should address both forms of violence (direct and indirect). In contrast, interventions to prevent future male criminal behavior should specifically focus on direct domestic violence.