FSD3717 Finnish Self-Report Delinquency Study 2020

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  • Kaakinen, Markus (University of Helsinki. Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy)
  • Raeste, Anna (University of Helsinki. Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy)


assault, bullying, burglary, crime and security, crime victims, criminal damage, criminal damage, cyberbullying, drinking behaviour, drug offences, juvenile delinquency, offences, parent-child relationship, personality traits, robbery, sexual harassment, theft, youth


The survey studied the extent, frequency, and nature of self-reported offending among young people in Finland as well as their attitudes towards crime and experiences of being victims. The 2020 version of the survey included new questions concerning hate crimes, online hate speech, cyberbullying and sexual harassment committed by the respondents' friends. The 2020 survey also contained more detailed questions than in previous years about cybercrime and online hate speech on social media. Additionally, the 2020 survey introduced questions where the respondents were asked to rate to rate how well various statements about being friendly, restless, obedient, having trouble sleeping, etc. applied to them.

First, the respondents were asked about their school performance, future plans and family. Questions covered truancy, making graffiti, damaging the school's or other property, theft and shoplifting, motor vehicle theft, breaking and entering, copyright infringement online, bullying and cyberbullying, taking part in a fight, assault, robbery, possession of a weapon, alcohol use, drink-driving, and drug use. If the respondents admitted to having done any of the acts mentioned, they were asked whether they had done it in the previous 12 months and how many times. Relating to some of the offences, the respondents were also presented with specifying questions about the last time they had committed the act, for example, whether they had acted alone, whether they had been drunk at the time, whether the act had been revenge for some previous incident, what they had stolen, whether their motive for the offence had been discriminatory, and whether the police had been informed of the act.

The respondents were also asked whether they had been a victim of criminal damage, robbery, theft, bullying, threats of violence, assault, hate crime, parental corporal punishment, cyberbullying and sexual harassment by adults or other young people. If the respondents had been a victim of any of the acts, they were asked whether they had experienced it in the previous 12 months and how many times. Relating to some of the experiences, the respondents were also presented with specifying questions about the last time they had been a victim of the crime, for instance, whether the perpetrator had been male or female, how old the perpetrator had been, what his/her ethnic background had been, whether the respondent had sustained injuries, and what had been stolen. Relating to experiences of violence, the respondents were further presented with a list of people (e.g. sibling, friend, mother, father, unknown adult, teacher, coach/instructor) and asked whether any of them had physically assaulted them (hit, kicked, or used a weapon).

Family and circumstances at home were surveyed with questions about the extent to which parents supported and were interested in the respondent's life. Relating to leisure time, questions probed how often the respondents were away from home in the evenings, went to parties with alcohol involved, spent long periods of time online, played violent games, watched violent films etc. Questions about the neighbourhood of residence and school investigated the prevalence of graffiti and vandalism in the neighbourhood, and the prevalence of vandalism and disruptive behaviour at school. The respondents were also asked whether their friends had used cannabis, shared hate speech on social media, sexually harassed someone, shoplifted or been in a fight in a public place.

On the topic of social media, the respondents were asked how often they used various internet services (e.g. YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat). The respondents' social media use was investigated with a series of statements (e.g. I belong to social media communities that are an important part of me, I trust information that is shared with me on social media, I pretend to be a different person online than I really am). Experiences with online hate speech in the past 12 months were charted by asking the respondents whether they had sent, shared, or seen content that included hate speech towards a group of people based on, for example, their religious beliefs or sexual orientation.

The respondents' personality traits were charted by asking them the extent they agreed with statements relating to impulsiveness, risk-seeking, and being considerate of others. The respondents' agreement with a variety of attitudinal statements about law-breaking, multiculturalism, religion, and revenge was surveyed. The respondents were also asked how happy and satisfied with life they had been in the previous six months.

Background variables included, among others, the respondent's gender and age as well as the number of years they had lived in their municipality of residence, number of siblings, languages spoken at home, parents' economic activity, and family's financial situation.

Study description in machine readable DDI-C 2.5 format

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