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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LLLC2222 Violent and Sexually Offending Young People

20 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: John Clark

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module explores the contentious topic of young people and children that commit violent and sexual offences. The module assumes that students have a basic or limited understanding of legal and procedural juvenile justice and welfare processes. Therefore, the module will establish key definitional features of 'deviance' and 'crime', alongside social constructions of 'childhood' and 'adolescence'. A key feature of the module will be society's ongoing problem of simultaneously seeing juvenile serious offenders as both victims in need of support, and risky perpetrators in need of punishment. Students will come to realise the tensions that professionals experience in trying to assess and deal with such young people. Students will be encouraged to reflect upon deviance as a widespread phenomenon, identifying patterns in human behaviour.


This module aims to explore the social problem of children and young people that commit serious crimes. The module will take a sociological, and sometimes legal stance around the problem of trying to define criminal and deviant behaviour. Students will come to appreciate the historical and ongoing tension between formal attempts to try and meet the welfare needs of children and young people that commit serious offences, with other societal needs to administer 'retributive' justice. Students will be introduced to explanations about the antecedents and environmental factors associated with juvenile offending, and how juvenile offending is of a different character to adult offending patterns. Students will analyse how the concepts of risk and risk management provide the youth justice system, and society more generally. Students will be introduced to the process of how professionals make sense of and assess children and young people, the help they might need and the risks they pose to others. Students will be introduced to theoretical explanations specific to violent offending and sexual offending.

Learning outcomes
1 Summarise some of the major theoretical explanations for young people committing violent and sexual offences.
2 Compare and contrast processes and outcomes of some well known cases in this area of study;
3 Evaluate differences in children's legal rights and responsibilities

Skills outcomes
On completion of this module students will be able to:
1. relate theoretical understanding to practical and professional contexts;
2. reflect critically on professional responses to violent and sexual offending in young people;
3. evaluate the impact of media reports on work with violent and sexual offending in young people;
4. demonstrate understanding of the field through written discussion and argument.


The content will cover such areas as:
The social construction of youth crime and deviance in society
The social problem of trying to address the welfare/justice needs of children who break the law
The criminal justice process of dealing with children who break the law
The attempt of welfare services to support children who break the law
Society's perceptions of children that break the law
Statistical and research information on serious young offenders
Young people being perceived to be 'risky' and simultaneously 'at risk'
The role of assessment in processing and managing young people at risk
Theoretical models that explain juvenile sexual offending
Theoretical models that explain juvenile violent offending

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours40.00
Private study hours138.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Through monitoring student contributions to group discussion.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,500 words50.00
Online AssessmentOn-line test (2,500 word equivalent)50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:50:52


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