1.0 is the extent to which risk1.0 is the extent to which risk


Youth offending and crime have always prevailed
around the world and Mauritius is no exception. For many young people, the
transition from childhood to adulthood is often difficult; lifestyle
trajectories go in the wrong direction. The conventional way guiding the
relationship between family, school and community and individual has frequently
been challenged (World youth report, 2003).

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 Most people
adopt different pathways during their transition from childhood to adulthood
and are sometimes restrained by some factors, for example few opportunities for
further education and employment (Barry, 2006). As a result, for many youth,
violence and crime may be the only and most effective way to attain success,
prestige, status or power. Hence one of the factors leading to youth offending
is the extent to which risk factors affect the developmental pathway of an
individual over the life course (Farrington, 2003; Loeber & Farrington,
1998)which will be one of the main focus of this study.


Risk and protective factors associated with youth offending

During the 1990s, there was a radical change in
criminology, as the risk factor prevention paradigm became prominent and it was
proposed that prevention methods should be aimed to prevent identified risk
factors for youth offending (Farrington, 2000). Risk factors can be broadly
defined as anything that increases the chances that a person will engage in
offending behavior (Shader, 2002). These risk factors include the social
surroundings and experiences of children which form part of their socialization
process in societies (Bartol and Bartol, 2009). The following are risk factors that
are accompanied with youth offending behavior: individual, family, school,
peers as well as community risk factors (Holtzhausen, 2012). Research has shown
that the more risk factors a young person is exposed to, the higher the
probability he/she will engage in delinquent activities (Sprott, Jenkins &
Doob, 2000).

Though risk factors are more frequently studied,
factors that may protect an individual from indulging in criminal activities
have started to gain more attention (Farrington, Tto? &Piquero, 2016).
These are known as protective factors which allow the youth people to resist
developing criminal behavior in spite of being exposed to numerous risk factors
(Anh Vien, 2009). In addition, recently, the focus has shifted from strictly
risk based interventions to promote an individual and his/her surrounding’s
strength and a goal to identify protective factors.  (Jolli?e, Farrington, Loeber ,
2016; MacKinnon-Lewis, Kaufman,, 2002). If protective factors are
absent, the socio-economic system can be disrupted affecting the whole society
as a result of the risk factors (Bartol and Bartol, 2009). Examples of protective
factors can include a safe neighborhood, adequate parental supervision and so

However, the term ‘protective factors has been used
vaguely in the literature leading to the conclusion that protective factors is
just the opposite of risk factors (White, Mo?tt,&Silva, 1989), while others
define it as a factor that decreases the effect of risk factors (Rutter, 1985).
For example, if risk factor is seen as broken family environment, then the
protective factor will be to create a healthy family environment. However, this
does not explain why siblings coming from same broken homes follow different
developmental pathways; one in the direction of delinquent behavior and the
other in a more acceptable behavior. Hence, risk and protective factors should
be seen as factors in sequence rather than factors that stand alone (Anh Vien,

Within the risk and protective factors paradigm, the
factors can be classified in five domains. The five domains of risk and
protective factors are as follows: individual, familial, peer, school and
community domains (Hawkins et al, 2000). It has also been found that if person
experiences risk factors from a number of domains will be more at risk of
offending rather than a person who experiences risk factors from a single
domain (Campbell & Harrington, 2000; Liddle & Solanki, 2000).
Identified risk and protective factors will be discussed in more details in the
following chapter.

1.3 Current trend of
youth offending in Mauritius

According to the Crime, Justice and Security Statistics 2016(CJS) in Mauritius, there is an increase in the number
of crime and misdemeanors (excluding contravention) by 4% mainly due to an
increase in property offences and drugs offences. It has also been noted from
the report that the Juvenile delinquency (excluding contraventions) rate per
1000 juvenile population in 2016 rose to 6.4 from 6.1 in 2015. This statistics is worryingly although that the
extent and seriousness of the offending has not been mentioned in the report.
Hence for this reason, a research of risk factors that are pushing the
juveniles to offend should be conducted in order to combat this problem.


Aims of study

To analyze the risk and protective
factors that are associated with youth offending.

To examine the relationship between
previously identified risk and protective factors.

To provide recommendations intended to
reduce risk and hence increasing protection among the young people.

Objectives of study

·       To
investigate the influence of different domains (school, community, peer
pressure…) on youngsters through questionnaires.

·       To
review the literature in order to develop a relationship between the previously
risk and protective factors identified.

·       To
critically analyze statistics on youth offending from the past years in order
to establish a current trend.

To use the findings and the results of
this study to create remedies/solutions that will strengthen preventive efforts
of youth offending.


Dissertation Structure

1:  It provides
an introduction on the topic of the study as well as its aims and objectives.
This chapter also provides an overview of the current trend of youth offending
in Mauritius. 

2: The literature review will analyze all previously risk and
protective factors identified.

This chapter covers the research method that is
used to obtain data. It gives a description about the design of the research
methodology, the various questions set, the sampling frame and how it was administered,
the techniques and the limitations encountered during the study as well as the
ethical considerations.

4: This chapter deals with the findings of the study.
Its presents the outcomes obtained from the research methods.

5: It analyzes the data obtained from the

6: Provides for recommendations that can be used to
combat the problem of youth offending.

7: Chapter seven which is the last chapter give a
brief summary of the whole study.