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A child is born innocent and if nurtured with tender care and
attention, then he/she grows in positive way. Physical, mental,
moral and spiritual development of the children makes them
capable of realizing his/her fullest potential.
On the contrary, harmful surroundings, negligence of basic
needs, wrong company and other abuses may turn a child to a
delinquent. With changing societal trends, children now appear
to possess strong likes and dislikes and also show expressions
that indicate maturity at a very early age. These qualities also
make children more vulnerable to the designs of the criminality
such as abusers, peddlers, and traffickers.
Moreover, the influence of the media on the psychosocial
development of children is profound. With advent of
communication technology in recent times, a child’s exposure to
media including television, radio, music, video games and the
Internet, has increased manifold.
In the year 1484, William Coxton used the word
delinquent to describe a person who was found guilty.
Juvenile delinquency refers to the involvement by
the teenagers in an unlawful behaviour who is usually
under the age of 18 and commits an act which would
be considered as a crime. A child is known as a
delinquent when he/she commits a mistake which is
against the law and which is not accepted by the
society. Thus a “juvenile” or “child” means a person
who has not completed eighteenth years of age and
violates the law and commits an offence under the
legal age of maturity.
Data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)
show that Union Women and Child Development
Minister Maneka Gandhi’s claim about juvenile crime
being the fastest rising segment is only part of the
story — as a percent of total crimes, juvenile crimes
have remained static at 1.2 over the last three years.
(News published in December 23, 2015)
According to numbers logged by the NCRB, the
number of juvenile crimes went up from 35,465 in 2012
to 42,566 in 2014 under the IPC, but it still formed only
1.2 per cent of the overall crime rate over the last three
2014 saw 33,981 murders of which only 841 (2.5%) were
committed by juveniles. Similarly, of the 36,735 rapes in the
year, only 1,989 (5.4%) were committed by juveniles.
Of the 37,90,812 adults arrested for various crimes in 2014,
2,95,740 were found to be repeat offenders. In case of
juveniles, a total of 48,230 boys and girls in the age group of
0-18 years were arrested that year. Of these 2,609 were
found to be repeat offenders.
Ninety per cent of the juveniles also come from families
that earn an annual income of less than Rs 1 lakh, more
than half of these hail from households that earn just
Rs 25,000 annually, records show. The majority of cases
registered in 2014 against juvenile offenders were under the
crime head ‘theft’ (20%).
Odisha has witnessed an alarming rise in the rate of
juvenile delinquency. Over 900 juveniles, mostly in the
age group of 13 to 18, were found involved in different
crimes, including rape and murder in 2012. Those
juveniles include 908 boys and 32 girls. In 2011, the
total number of such juveniles stood at 621, including
Family factors: Broken homes and neglect. 20% of
abused children become delinquent before reaching
adulthood. A study conducted in Mecklenburg
country, NC, compared maltreated children and those
with no history of neglect. The findings demonstrated
that those who had been previously maltreated had
higher rates of delinquency and violence. As the
frequency and severity of abuse or neglect increased,
there were significant increases in the frequency of
Environmental factors: Disorganized neighborhoods.
Disadvantaged, disorderly and decaying neighborhoods
foster an environment in which deviance becomes
widespread. Some characteristics of of high crime areas
include Persistent poverty, Residential mobility, Ethnic
Factors at school: Association with deviant peers. 80% of
juvenile delinquents offend with co-offenders. Also
students drop-out of school. 5% of students every year are
dropping out of school. In contrast more than 60% of
youth entering the Juvenile justice system have had serious
problems in school or have dropped out.
The Union cabinet had, in 2014, approved an amendment to the
Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, to
treat minors older than 16 years as adults, if charged with serious
crimes such as rape. However, they will not be sentenced to life
or death if found guilty.
Setting up of an institution like the Observation Home, youth
development is an approach to the policies and programs that
serves as well as supports these youths to empower themselves
by the various opportunities and give them a chance in building
their skills, leadership quality, and also help them to form good
relations with the community.
NGOs such as “North East Network”, “Youth Ki Awaaz”,
“CHETNA”, “Video Volunteers”, “PRAYAS”, “Aangan”, etc.
Further than the incontestable changes and growth of
adolescent, biologically and psychologically,
adolescence presents three essential features such as
development of self-consciousness, asserting their
identity, social integration. A sense of right and wrong,
normative and motivational, oriented to deny and
reject the adult models and search their own models
which reflects the instable personality of a teenager.