ISRD3 Croatia – International Self-Report Delinquency Study

The International Self-Report Delinquency Study (ISRD) is an ongoing research study on delinquency, victimisation, and substance use among 7th, 8th and 9th graders. ISRD3 is the third edition of the international data collection; it started in 2013 and it is currently still ongoing, with about 50 partners across the globe. The expansion of the survey to countries that belong to Central and Eastern Europe started in ISRD2 and was pushed further in this edition. During 2013 it has been conducted in Croatia for the first time by the Max Planck Partner Group for ‘Balkan Criminology’, and it falls into the scope of Research Focus II: Feelings and Perceptions of (In)Security and Crime.

Data collection was carried out in the spring of 2013 and in the winter of 2014. It was using a city-based sampling strategy. The survey was conducted in the city of Zagreb, as the capital, and in the city of Varaždin, as a medium size city (overall sample: 1744). Field work was conducted with the great help of student volunteers and the MPPG members, in school settings among 12-16 years old students.

The actual questionnaire is divided in a set of different modules. The required modules are questions related to background information, in particular family, school, victimisation, leisure, attitude, offending, substance use and prior experiences with police and criminal justice. The flexible part includes gang-related questions, etc. There are two versions of the ISRD3 questionnaire: pencil-and-paper, as used in Croatia, and a computerised version which is used in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Both versions are identical in the design, the only difference is the way in which the questionnaires have been filled in.

The ISRD3 project has two main aims. First, to note and to compare differences, similarities and tendencies in delinquent behaviour and victimisation between countries. Second, to examine and verify theoretical questions related to juvenile delinquency and victimisation while maintaining relevance for needs of policy making. This was one of the reasons why Croatia participated in ISRD3; one of the additional reasons was the lack of research on juvenile delinquency in the country. The further goal for the Croatia research team is to further broaden the knowledge in the field of juvenile delinquency by providing a cross-national comparison in the Balkan region.In order to reach a better understanding and to advance the knowledge about the causation of juvenile delinquency, this regional approach is based in the comparison of countries which show more similarities than differences which can be explained by their similar cultural and historical background. ISRD3 focuses on the empirical integration of Situational Action Theory, Institutional Anomie Theory and Procedural Justice Theory. Further areas of interest are theories of social control, criminal opportunity and social disorganisation.

According to a UNODC report from 2008 the Balkans seems to be the safest region of Europe, which can also be concluded from the first results of the analysis, but much more data analyses need to be done in order to successfully conclude the project.

MPPG contact for ISRD3 Croatia: Reana Bezić