Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Criminology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Dr. Dennis Hoffman

Second Advisor

Dr. Ineke Marshall


Two of the major social issues demanding attention from the criminal justice system today are violent juvenile crime and the abuse of children. Neither of these problems shares in the general declining trend of other forms of crime. For the five-year period from 1980-84, arrests for crimes of violence increased by four percent, while index crime arrests as a whole decreased (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1985). Among juveniles aged 16 through 18, 1983 arrest rates for violent crimes showed an increase over the two previous years. Estimates of the incidence of child abuse vary from 200,000 to 1 1/2 million cases annually (Straus & Gelles, 1980; Smith, Berkman & Fraser, 1980; Forer, 1980; Steele, 1982), with many children being repeatedly victimized by the same abuser. In the state of Nebraska, with a population of only 1,460,000, there were 3,312 officially confirmed incidents of child abuse in 1984, including 13 that resulted in death ("Child Abuse Deaths," 1985).


A Thesis Presented to the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Mary-Elizabeth Lynn Pate, 1985