Abstract

Social work practitioners support vulnerable children and youth who are currently facing problems or are at risk of acquiring problems. Increasingly, politicians and authorities are emphasizing the role of early crime prevention in social work and the role of risk factors in crime prevention.
However, there has not been focus on how practitioners actually judge the size of the risk that a young person is apprehended as a first-time offender. We study practitioners’ risk assessments through three vignettes. The vignettes have been constructed using register- and survey-based research on the association between youth crime and a diversity of risk factors. Hence, the vignettes are constructed to allow a comparison between the risk assessments of practitioners and the actual size of the risk known from research. The study is based on a sample of 312 health visitors, nursery teachers, social workers and teachers.
The findings are that practitioners grossly overestimate the risk of apprehension for a first-time offence in all three vignettes. The average assessment of the risk is approximately 50 percentage points larger than the actual calculated risk. Furthermore, there is a large variation in the risk assessments between practitioners. Moreover, practitioners associate terms such as “high risk” with very different probabilities of crime.
Original languageDanish
JournalNordisk Tidsskrift for Kriminalvidenskab
Volume2
Pages (from-to)104-121
Number of pages18
ISSN0029-1528
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Cite this