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Module SXY-3021:
Perspectives on Youth Crime

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Prof Martina Feilzer

Overall aims and purpose

This module explores youth crime from a variety of perspectives; national and international as well as from the perspectives of professionals involved in the control of youth crime and the young people subjected to criminal justice and crime control.

Using a case study approach, we will look at crimes that affect young people, as victims or those who commit crimes. The case studies include Youth Violence and Gang Crime; Child Sexual Exploitation; County Lines.

The module will also discuss the divergence of youth justice between they devolved nations of the UK. It will critically examine the effect of crime control on young people with reference to criticism of the UK government by international bodies and human rights organisations, and the UK’s Children’s Commissioners.


  1. To introduce students to the theoretical, conceptual, and practical issues in the study of youth crime
  2. To critically explore and investigate the effect of crime control on young people
  3. To critically analyse the different interpretations and perspectives on youth crime and youth justice
  4. To examine different approaches to youth justice and their underlying rationales – internationally but also with reference to the devolved nations of the UK
  5. To explore and investigate the major developments in youth justice
  6. To provide students with a critical understanding of empirical research as applied to youth crime and youth justice

Course content

Indicative content

Introduction: Youth crime and youth justice – reasons for a separate category Youth justice – Theory and Practice Youth Violence and Gang Crime Child Sexual Exploitation County Lines – Young People and Drugs Working with young people – trauma informed practice; Children First Effect of crime control on young people Youth justice in a devolved nation – Wales and Scotland International perspectives on youth justice Youth justice policy – historical and comparative perspectives The future of youth justice

Assessment Criteria


BE ABLE TO: Critically analyse key theoretical and conceptual issues, and make connections between criminology and other disciplines, for e.g. history and law to the study of youth crime and youth justice, as well as present material in a way that serves to support the arguments being advanced and to bring different/original modes of thought to this module.


BE ABLE TO: To describe the contemporary debates on youth crime and youth justice and explain some of the main theoretical perspectives on youth crime and youth justice.


BE ABLE TO: Examine and evaluate theoretical, conceptual and methodological issues, examine perspectives on contemporary youth crime and youth justice and evaluate a range of appropriate literature and material, and incorporate personal insights and observations.

Learning outcomes

  1. Ability to research a topic on youth crime or youth justice and present findings in a critical manner through a variety of presentation techniques.

  2. Ability to identify and critically evaluate theoretical perspectives on youth crime and youth justice and recognise the overlap between victimisation and exploitation of young people and youth crime.

  3. Ability to discuss contexts in which youth justice takes place and what is considered an appropriate response to crime committed by young people.

  4. Ability to appreciate the complex nature of causes of youth crime and interpretation of youthful deviance.

  5. Ability to assess different forms of youth justice from a variety of viewpoints.

  6. Ability to explore a range of historical, political and contemporary issues relating to youth crime and youth justice policy.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Poster Presentation 40
3,000 Word Assignment 60

Teaching and Learning Strategy


1x1-hour workshop

Private study

Private study




Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Be able to recognize how social data and sociological knowledge apply to questions of public policy.
  • Use the theories and concepts of social policy and other social sciences to analyse policy problems and issues
  • Undertake either on their own, or in collaboration with others, investigations of social questions, issues and problems, using statistical and other data derived from research publications.
  • Analyse and discuss social policy and related issues distinguishing between normative and empirical questions
  • The ability to identify criminological problems, formulate questions and investigate them
  • Competence in using criminological theory and concepts to understand crime, victimisation, responses to crime and deviance; and representations of crime, victimisation, and responses to these, as presented in the traditional and new media and official reports
  • The capacity to analyse, assess and communicate empirical information about crime, victimisation, responses to crime and deviance, and representations of crime
  • the main forms of sentence and alternatives; the governance, roles and structure of the agencies involved; and offenders' experiences of adjudication and sentence
  • representations of victimisation, crime and deviance, and of the main agents and institutions which respond to crime and deviance, as found in the mass media, new media, in official reports and in public opinion
  • awareness of how political and cultural values - including the student's own have an impact on responses to and rival interpretations of safety and security, crime
  • control, policing, criminal and youth justice, sentencing, and alternative responses
  • to offending
  • theoretical and empirical relationships between power, crime and social change, and the impact of globalisation
  • how to use empirical evidence - both quantitative and qualitative - about the distribution of crime, deviance, offending and victimisation of all kinds to explore
  • the development of criminology as a distinct area of study and inquiry, and its multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary nature
  • alternative theoretical approaches within criminology, and contemporary debates about the content and scope of criminology
  • how crime, deviance and victimisation are socially and legally constructed the different sources of information about crime and victimisation, both quantitative and qualitative, and how they are produced - including their location in particular legal, political, social and ideological frameworks - and how they can be interpreted
  • trends in crime, harm and victimisation
  • different forms of crime and their social organisation
  • different theoretical and empirical approaches to the study, analysis and explanation of crime, deviance, harm and victimisation
  • relationships of crime, deviance and offending, and victimisation to social divisions such as: age, gender, sexuality, social class, race, ethnicity and religious faith
  • the development, role, organisation and governance of efforts to reduce and prevent crime, deviance and harm, and to ensure personal and public safety and security in different locations; the role of the state and non-governmental agencies
  • the effectiveness of such measures, and human rights issues in relation to preventive and pre-emptive measures
  • the social and historical development of the main institutions involved in crime control in different locations
  • the philosophy and politics of criminalisation, victimisation, criminal justice and modes of punishment
  • the use of discretion in relation to justice processes, including issues of discrimination and diversity
  • governance of criminal and youth justice, and other crime control processes
  • the development of penal and alternative policies in different locations and their relationship to social change


Reading list

Cooper, C. and Roe, S. (2012). An estimate of youth crime in England and Wales. Research Report 64. London: Home Office. Available on: Field, S. (2007). Practice culture and the ‘new’ youth justice in (England and) Wales. British Journal of Criminology, Vol 47(2), 311-330. Available through library electronic resources. Haines, K. et al. (2013). The Swansea Bureau: A model of diversion from the youth justice system. International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice, Vol 41, pp 167-187. Haines, K. and Case, S. (2015). Positive Youth Justice. Policy Press: Bristol. Morgan, R., & Newburn, T. (2012). Youth crime and justice. In M. Maguire, R. Morgan & R. Reiner (Eds., 5th ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (pp. 490-530). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Muncie, J. (2011). Illusions of Difference. Comparative youth justice in the devolved UK. British Journal of Criminology, Vol 51(1), 40-57. Muncie, J., & Goldson, B. (Eds.). (2006). Comparative Youth Justice. London: Sage. Newman, R. et al. (2012). Turning young lives around. Prison Reform Trust: Talbot, J. (2010). Seen and heard. Supporting vulnerable children in the youth justice system. Prison Reform Trust. Tarapdar, S. and Kellett, M. (2011). Young people's voices on cyber-bullying: what can age comparisons tell us? London: The Diana Award.

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: