Parenthood in disadvantaged neighbourhoods

An investigation of the responsibility of ethnic minority parents in reducing youth crime in disadvantaged neighbourhoods


This Ph.D. project is part of the research project “Young adults, substances and police” and is concerned with the relation between the police and ethnic minority citizens living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. The aim of the project is to challenge the debate of parent involvement. Several initiatives assumes that parents either cannot or will not accept their responsibility as parents. However, what does it look like from the perspective of the parents in regards to keeping young people out of criminal behaviour? In addition, how is the help and involvement of the police and other public authorities experienced by the parents in controlling their children? These are the questions examined within this Ph.D. project.


The project has become relevant in Denmark following years of intensified efforts to reduce youth crime, in which the police have played a key role. Parents have also been assigned a huge responsibility in prevention initiatives in the disadvantaged neighbourhoods. The fact that parents carry a responsibility for their children’s behaviour is not questioned in the project, but the aim of the research is to examine what parents actually do in order to control their children and what challenges they face. The project will also examine whether or not only the parents will and abilities challenge their efforts to control their children, or if they need help from the public authorities with other problems.

The study

The project is qualitative and will use formal and informal in-depth interviews and observations in examining the perspectives of parents. The project will explore the parents’ perceptions of “responsible parenting” and the ways in which live up to this, as well as what role the public authorities have in the parents efforts to act responsibly.


The Independent research Fund Denmark