Juvenile delinquency



According to legal dictionaries, Juvenile delinquency is the participation by a minor child, usually between the ages of ten and seventeen, in illegal behavior or activities. Juvenile delinquency is also used to refer to children who exhibit a persistent behavior of mischievousness or disobedience, so as to be considered out of parental control, becoming subject to legal action by the court system.

Juvenile delinquency is also identified as “juvenile offending”.  Each and every state has its own legal system to deal with juveniles who breaks the law. Juvenile delinquency is a very serious offence. A child who has not reached the age the eighteen is considered to be a JUVENUILE, in INDIA. There is an increase in juvenile crimes over the world, with more and more participation of the youth in vicious crimes. Even though India is a developing country, India shows a similar trend of increasing rate of violent crimes committed by the minors.

It is a very serious concern for the nation and solutions to end the problem need to be sought with awareness. Children are the foundation of any nation on which its future is built. They become the future leaders of the country, the creators of national wealth, who care for and protect the human community of the land to which they are rooted. These children across the world develop at different rate and develop different world view. They increase their ability to think abstractly and develop their own views regarding social and political issues. There is also a tendency of making comparison of self with others. They desire for separate identity and independence from parents. This is the age when peer pressure and acceptance becomes very important.  A child is born innocent and if nurtured with tender care and attention, then he or she grows in positive way. On the opposite, harmful surroundings, negligence, wrong company and other abuses may turn a child to a delinquent. With changing social trends, children now appear to have strong likes and dislikes. They also show expressions that indicate maturity at a very early age. These characters also make children more vulnerable to criminality such as abusers, peddlers, and traffickers. Moreover, there is a great influence of the media. The reason of increase in crime rates may be due to the upbringing situation of the child, economic conditions, lack of education or the parental care. These are the some of the very basic reasons. And the most disappointing part is that, children nowadays are used as tool for committing the crimes, as at this stage their mind is very innocent and can easily be manipulated. This study is aimed at critically analyzing and understanding the causes behind the juvenile delinquency, and the measures that are being taken for the positive development of the children.






Sometimes, the juveniles develop delinquent sub- culture due to cultural deprivation and status frustration that they go through.They often adopts the delinquent tendencies due to peer pressure. According to Walter B. Miller (1958), some youth (usually belonging to lower class) turn the mainstream culture up- side down. Thus, if certain morals are upheld by society, juvenile delinquents give up these values and try to excel in the areas of toughness, over- smarting the others and indulge in things that give them excitement (defined as focal concerns by Miller).

Juveniles develop different delinquent tendencies depending upon what opportunities

that are available in their surroundings. The youth may become criminals if they have

opportunities to learn illegal activities. They may indulge in acts of street brawls and

hooliganism if the lack these opportunities, or are not able to excel in the area of

organized crime.

Other studies indicate that social factors such as poverty and low education are also responsible for the crimes. Habits of abuse also make the youth vulnerable to offending. Broken families are directly related to higher rates of crime. The negative role of family has also been highlighted in the studies. Some reports indicates that the juvenile who receive less family supervision, or who live in dysfunctional family settings or in disadvantaged families have more chances of getting involved in these kind of behavior.


There are psychological factors to delinquency also, which can be very well understood through Freudian concepts of id, ego and super-ego. When the id (the instinctive element of individual’s personality) becomes too strong, and the super- ego becomes weak (the socially taught element of personality) the ego develops into anti- social person. Sometimes when the self- control and social control through primary groups becomes weak, the juveniles develop delinquent tendencies. The breakdown of the social institutions has also been connected to deviance and delinquency. There can be a strong link between psychological condition of the youth and delinquent tendencies.


David Brandt (2006) has extensively talked about the social and psychological factors responsible for delinquency in India. Under the social factors it has been noted that the social environment has a strong impact on deviating tendencies of the juveniles. Amongst these neighborhood ties and social organization can be important determinant in the delinquent behavior of the juvenile. The study indicates that when the neighborhood ties are weak and the social organization factors are not effective; the social control over the members of the society becomes weak, thus leading to delinquent tendencies. Along with the weak neighborhood, ineffective parenting and association of the youth with deviant peers leads to higher rates of offending.



The biological explanations suggest that individuals are influenced by their biological or genetic make- up. They are not exactly the captives of biological designing, but it does render these individuals inclined towards delinquent tendencies. The hormonal changes in the body of the juveniles are responsible for their impulsive and rebellious behavior. Ecological, environmental and economic parameters also play important trigger points in lives of the juveniles. But usually it’s the combination of these factors that together creates situation of juvenile delinquency.




Petty crimes in general and heinous crimes in particular are being committed commonly in India by children. Crimes such as theft, burglary, and mugging which are not so serious in nature but crimes such as robbery, murder, and rape, etc. which are reasonably serious are on the rise in the country. Among juveniles also there is a specific trend that kids between the age of sixteen to eighteen years are found to be more involved in terrible criminal acts.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, the data of 2013 shows that of the 43,506 crimes registered against minors under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Special Local Law (SLL) by juveniles, 28,830 had been committed by those between the ages of 16 to 18.

The inhuman gang rape of a young girl on December 16, 2013, shocked the collective conscience of the nation. The brutality with which the heinous crime was committed was most shocking; it was later found out that among five accused, one was a minor and he was the most barbaric one.

Again, in another brutal gang rape case which is known as Shakti Mill rape case, a minor was involved. These and several more recent events have triggered a public debate that the present Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000 which treats persons below the age of 18 years as minor or juvenile, should be amended.

Some of the common causes which are associated with crimes are- poverty; drug abuse; anti-social peer group; easy availability of firearms; abusive parents; single-parent child; nuclear family; family violence; child sexual abuse, and role of media. However, as far as India is concerned, poverty and the effect of media are generally considered to be the main reasons for juvenile delinquency. It is extremely difficult to assess precisely the extent of the problem in any part of the country since accurate statistics are not available and are not an indicator of the true extent. This is because of the fact that a large number of such acts remain undetected or unreported.

Different scholars classified juvenile delinquents on a different basis:

Hirsch classified them in six groups on the basis of kinds of offences committed:

  1. Incorrigibility (for example, disobedience and keeping late hours),
  2. Truancy (staying away from school),
  3. Larceny (ranging from petty thefts to armed robbery),
  4. Destruction of property (both public and private),
  5. Violence against individual or community, and
  6. Sexual offences ranging from homosexuality to rape.

Eaton and Polk classified the delinquents by the following types of offences they have been involved in:

(1) Minor violations which include disorderly conduct and minor traffic violations.

(2) Property violations which include all property thefts, except automobiles.

(3) Major traffic violations which include automobile theft and drunk driving and any other offence that would involve an automobile.

(4) Human addiction which includes sex offenses as well as alcohol and drug addiction.

(5) Bodily harm which includes homicide offenses that involve sexual deviation, such as rape, and generally, all other acts of violence against a person.



Many methods can be used in treating a delinquent. Some important methods are:

(1) Psychotherapy,

(2) Reality therapy,

(3) Behavior therapy,

(4) Activity therapy,

(5) Milieu therapy.

Punishment is not discussed as a treatment method because it is no longer viewed as a viable technique of treatment, though some do feel that pain serves as prevention to further criminal action. Restrictions and reprimands can be effective supplements to the major treatment approach utilized but punishment cannot become an end in itself.

The two main basic approaches in dealing with youngsters are the individual and the group methods of treatment. Of these, it is generally the individual method which is used by psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists and social workers, though psychologists sometimes do use group method as well



Juvenile crimes are a harsh reality, and to reduce them, the Act must be effectively implemented, along with that awareness must be created. In the present study all the offenders are in the age group of 15-18 years, which is categorized as the adolescent age. In a community the adolescent age is between 14-18 years, and it is the age in which the children have committed the offences such as theft, murder, rape, smoking, and drinking. The Juvenile Justice Act of 2016 can be seen as a very progressive step of the Indian government towards keeping pace with changing trends in juvenile crimes. The bold step under the Act on treating the juvenile offenders found guilty of committing heinous crime as adults, subject to the observations of the Juvenile Justice Board. It is not only the individual factor which is responsible for delinquency or crime rather it is the multi-dimensional factors which are responsible for delinquency.

Wellford (1989) viewed that due to the complexity of human conduct and the various multi-cause factors, the best way to progress in the field of criminology is through the combination of multi-level, multidisciplinary factors, where the multi-level factor involves the micro-level and macrolevel. The interaction of a child within the family has also a greater influence on delinquency.

It has been accepted that due to some situations and environment children become delinquent by not on their own will, thus this is not impossible to change the unfriendly attitude in them by reforming the unhealthy and poor surroundings, and by providing adequate suitable means. For the fulfillment of this purpose the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 has been enacted with effect from 30th December, 2000, which aims to consolidate and amend the law relating to juveniles in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection, by providing for proper care, protection and treatment, by showing concern to their developmental needs, by adopting a child friendly approach in the adjudication and disposition of matters in the best interest of children, and for their ultimate rehabilitation through various juvenile institutions like children home, observation home, special home, shelter home along with a Juvenile Justice Board, Child Welfare Committee (CWC) etc., are recognized under this Act. This goal can be achieved only when planning will turn into action. In a society a child is considered as a precious asset so it is the society which can put aside him/her from the heinous world of criminality. Proper parenting and care will nurture the child in a proper way and will thus prevent them to become delinquents. The resources available become insufficient to go at par with the human wants, which works as stimuli. In order to contribute to the family resources as well as to satisfy their own immediate needs they go in the wrong path either by adapting fair means or by illegal means. Most of them prefer unfair means, and the present scenario reveals that there has been an incredible increase in the number of children’s involvement in the crime.




More number of teachers should be appointed in the observation home so that it will be possible to provide teaching to the different age group of delinquents.

Developing the infrastructural facilities of Short stay homes and Observation homes is a top priority.

School drop outs should be handled properly to ensure that they are not becoming antisocial.

Proper counseling sessions at regular intervals is highly essential for these juveniles.

Delinquents should be dealt in a sensitive manner .Proper training should be given to the authority and caretakers in these homes.

Education should be an integral part of the positive development of these children in conflict with law.

Proper socialization from the childhood is a key requirement.

More parental focus towards their children is needed for their proper development.











[2] http://www.preservearticles.com/education/what-are-the-methods-of-treating-delinquents/28861


[3] http://www.sociologydiscussion.com/juvenile-delinquency/juvenile-delinquency-india-sociology/13522


[4] https://www.nap.edu/read/9747/chapter/5#67



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