New data available from SANDAG show differences between boys and girls in their self-reported risk. Of the juvenile arrestees interviewed in San Diego as part of the Substance Abuse Monitoring for Youth (SAMY) project, girls were more likely than boys to report they had ever had suicidal thoughts, been bullied at school, run away from home, or that their parents used illegal drugs. Girls were also more likely than boys to report that they currently did not live with their father (see figure).
These results are consistent with the literature, which suggests that girls have different life experiences that contribute to the reasons they come into contact with the juvenile justice system. Specifically, their risk for victimization (e.g., sexual abuse) increases as they enter their teenage years and is often the underlying issue of girls who run away from home or have suicidal thoughts. Anecdotally, local service providers and law enforcement have expressed concern with the high number of runaway girls that have engaged in some form of prostitution.
Project Manager: Lisbeth Howard