Time to know Juvenile Delinquency and treat it well!

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By: Suhail Samandar

Juvenile delinquency is a matter of concern for a society and is becoming a menace here. Juvenile delinquency is a type of anti-social behavior by a juvenile who is under 16 years. It is a commission of an act which, if committed by an adult, would be considered a crime. It is a social problem that arises out of for a varied number of reasons. The acts of a juvenile may include: theft, gambling, committing sexual offences, drug smuggling, shop-lifting and so on.

There are a number of reasons that impel a child to commit a crime or become criminal minded. Of all the causes, the major cause to researchers is “broken homes”. American and British investigation reveals that nearly 50% of the delinquents come from broken homes. It has been observed, especially in rural areas, that because of the broken families, lack of Parental affection and lack of family ties, the number of deviants is increasing day by therefore. A Child needs love and care from parents so that he/she doesn’t feel neglected. Regular husband-wife quarrels and lack of bond in a family put adverse effect on the mind of a child. Parents send their children to a shop for cigarettes, husband beats wife in front of his children, Children come home late in the evening-these things sometimes provoke a child to indulge in such activities which are against the norms of the society.

Other very prominent cause of delinquent behavior is poverty. If a child doesn’t meet his/her expenses he/she finds some other ways. A very large proportion of delinquent children come from poor homes and lower income families. Poverty sometimes compels parents to remain outside the home for a long period to earn their daily bread. In the absence of their parents, children join hands with gangsters and this mostly happens in slum areas.

There are some areas which are highly vulnerable for producing delinquent and anti-social people. These are hostels, cinemas, liquor shops etc. It has been observed that seeds of such behavior are sown in the dark and shady areas which are away from human population. Since, there is no rush of the people, they remain hidden from the human sight.

Moreover, till the age of 5-6 years, a child feels secure at his home with his mother but after  getting older  he/she becomes a part of peer group or playgroup. Charles Shaw has opined that “delinquency is a product of community forces”. A person learns social values from the society. It has been well said that if you want to see the morality of any person, see the morality of his friends. If a child gets bad company, he/she too will develop bad habits. Therefore, parents and guardians should know what type of comrades their child have and what activities does his playgroup perform.

It also happens that a school going child wanders about the streets for evading the punishment of teachers and such students have every apprehension to become victims to any delinquent gang as drug peddlers keep moving around schools in order to supply drugs. Children are given the greed of chocolates and sweets to entrap and abduct them.

Mental troubles and emotional maladjusted are also some main causes responsible for juvenile delinquency. Studies of Healy and Bronner on 143 delinquents found that 92% of them revealed emotional disturbances.

The J&K Children Act, 1970 and The J&K Juvenile Justice Act 1997  were implemented in order to stop the increasing crimes by Juveniles. But the crime rate is still increasing and in 2015 total cases registered were 25,269 which rose to 26,548 in 2016. Of all crimes committed in J&K, about 52% crimes are committed by Juveniles.

No child is born delinquent but personal deficiencies and social circumstances make them so. The need of the hour is to pay attention to this problem and look into the faults that ruin our society. A simple deviant of today may turn out to be a criminal tomorrow.

Special awareness camps should be held in schools and colleges in order to bring consciousness pertaining to deleterious results of deviancy and delinquency. With the help of social workers, psychiatrists and experts, there should be proper counseling to the victims and rehabilitative measures must be taken for preventing any further increase in the delinquency in future.

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