Youth at Risk: on Results of sociological Study in Regions of Russian Federation
Center for Comprehensive Social Studies Institute of Sociology of Russian Academy of Sciences Moscow, Russian Federation
This study is a part of "Improving Services for Youth at Risk in the Russian Federation" Project, which in six pilot regions of Russia from October 2006 is being realized. The goal of this study was to identify risk factors for youth.
In each of studied regions were identified purposive samplings of young people aged 12 to 18 years who experience difficult life situation. A standard sample of teenagers (n = 588) was formed in the two subgroups: "having custodial experience of getting a sentence for made offences (including a conditional sentence, conditional early relief, etc.)" and "with no custodial sentences for criminal offences".
Within this study it was very important to identify main reasons for teenagers getting in the risk group and committing crimes. The study showed that the most serious reasons are related with a crisis in family relations due to poverty growth, downfall in living conditions, deterioration of moral values and educative potential of families. Importance of the so-called "exterior" reasons, namely, ineffective youth offence prevention, general crime growth, TV and advertising influence, influence by a child's mates or "bad street children", is valued by respondents as serious enough, although their influence is less intensive as compared to existing problems of an individual family.
As for unfavorable family situations, results of YAR inquiry survey witness significant influence of the factors, namely, incomplete families, family problems like relatives suffering from alcohol abuse, relatives with a police record, low income, permanent scandals, low cultural and educational level of parents.
The analysis showed that except general trends, each of the pilot regions has its certain specifics. In separate regions the most common are drug addiction, youth employment, child neglect and homelessness, juvenile delinquency. For example, Stavropol Region may be called the most "problem territory". Stavropol Region may be called the most "problem" territory. Here, beside most common problems of family (alcoholism and low incomes) are there such negative phenomena as physical violence and family scandals.
Thus, the negative general trends and regional characteristics necessitate the creation of multi-level system of support for young people at risk.