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Juvenile Delinquency: Causes, Effects, Prevention And Rehabilitation

Violation of law by a child is called Juvenile Delinquency. Delinquency is an antisocial and criminal behaviour committed by a person who is under the age of 18; that is, who is not an adult. Juvenile delinquency is also called delinquency. When a person reaches adulthood, antisocial and criminal behaviour done by him can be said as a crime. Thus, we can say that juvenile delinquency is the child and adolescent version of the crime.

Juvenile delinquency shows two general types of behaviours:

  1. Status offense
  2. Delinquent offense
Status offenses are not considered to be good for children and adolescents. Because of the age of the offender, these behaviours are proscribed. If these offenses are committed by adults, behaviours are not illegal. Drinking or possessing alcohol, consuming tobacco, running away from home, truancy or not attending school without any good reason, and violating curfew are examples of status offenses.

These offenses also include incorrigibility, waywardness, idleness, and being ungovernable. The juvenile justice system has devised formal labels for adolescents that are in need, which is depending on the jurisdiction. These include:
  1. CHINS (child in need of supervision)
  2. PINS (person in need of supervision)
  3. MINS (minor in need of supervision)
  4. FINS (family in need of supervision)
  5. YINS (youth in need of supervision)

Delinquent offenses violate the legal statutes that also apply to adults in the criminal justice system. Acts of violence are included under delinquent offenses such as murder, rape, armed robbery, aggravated and simple assault, harassment, stalking, menacing, child abuse, and other similar offenses. Delinquent offenses include acts that are concerned with property crimes, such as burglary, theft or larceny, motor vehicle theft arson, damage to property, criminal mischief, vandalism, and others.

A variety of miscellaneous crimes is called public order offenses. And are also delinquent offenses. These include intoxicated drive, cruelty to animals, possession, and use of a controlled substance, forgery, fraud, disorderly conduct, weapons violations, prostitution, and commercialized vice, vagrancy and loitering, traffic violations, etc.

For several reasons Juvenile delinquency is important in society but there are three specific reasons. These are:
  1. Firstly, children and adolescents commit significant delinquent acts and offenses that result in violence and other forms of victimization. More than one million children and adolescents are being arrested by co-ops for their delinquent acts every year.
  2. Secondly, juvenile delinquency itself shows the general health and prosperity in a society. In neighbourhoods, due to high levels of delinquency, antisocial behaviour is seen as part of a larger set of social problems. In this way, juvenile delinquency is troubling because of the victimization that is inflicted. And, also, the perceptual image of society is unable to provide adequate control and supervise young people.
  3. Finally, the meaning of Juvenile delinquency depends on its severity and other factors. For most young people, juvenile delinquency is a fairly normal facet of growing up. For a small group of youths, juvenile delinquency is just the beginning stage of what will become antisocial behaviour for a lifetime.

Causes of Delinquency

Causes of delinquent behaviour among juveniles generally peer influence. Research has shown that young people who form relationships with positive individuals and groups that pursue positive commitments and it tend to shun delinquent behaviours[1]. While on the other hand, juveniles can be engaged in activities that do not have concrete objectives and commitments.

These types of activities are likely to lead to volatile relationships that may promote delinquent behaviour.

These behaviours are drinking and smoking. Other behaviours are those which are without any commitment these include juveniles getting engaged in watching television and spending too much time watching movies.

Even though most people face no harm because of these activities. Research has proven that the more time suspended with peers, watching television, the more likely to engage in delinquent behaviours.

Another factor that has been proved to encourage juvenile delinquency is family influence. It is also believed that family influence contributes to more delinquent behaviours than peer pressure. In researches, it has been proven that families in which there is a weak emotional bonding between the members of the family, tend to have juveniles who turn out to be delinquent.

This may be because the juveniles develop psychological problems like rejection and low self-esteem, which may lead to delinquent behaviour. Other causes of psychological problems can be trauma and low self-esteem which are also linked to delinquency. These two can originate from sources outside the family.

Children who are being abused or exposed to family violence are likely to be delinquents. Some researchers have linked the genes to delinquency, arguing that children who are brought up by criminals and drug addicts are likely to become delinquent. Another risk is at a family in which there are no effective communication channels between members.

Children who are raised in this kind of a family may have issues that they want to explore, but they may lack in the audience. These are likely to make them involve in delinquent behaviour.[5]

Non-traditional families like reconstituted families and single-parent families can also result in delinquency. Research has also shown that children who are brought up by single parents or divorced parents tend to be more delinquent than those who are brought up in traditional families.

The race is a major factor in predicting delinquent behaviour. The main reason why race is a determinant factor for delinquency is that minority groups are not facing the same treatment as other races.

This makes them live disgruntled lives, which may develop hatred and further result in delinquent behaviour.

Once the trend of delinquency is set in a certain race, then the peer influence fuels recidivism and led to fresh offenses.

Therefore, these are some important causes of juvenile delinquency.

Effects of Delinquency

Juvenile delinquency is a deep problem that not only affects the victims of the delinquents, but also affects the juvenile delinquents themselves, their families, and society as a whole. Juvenile delinquents are not able to predict the effect of their crimes by themselves, but they are badly affected by these crimes.

Mostly these crimes lead the juveniles to lose their freedom as they might be placed on probation, or even incarcerated. This also negatively affects their academic welfare because he or she will miss academic activities that will happen during the probation or incarceration.

In some cases, he/she may be influenced by more experienced juvenile delinquents when the juvenile is placed in a residential centre for detention. Because of these the juvenile will more likely to suffer the consequences of re-offense. The delinquency of the minor may dictate and affect his or her career choices in the future.

Sometimes it becomes a trauma for the members of the family to have a juvenile delinquent in their family and this creates instability and a sense of insecurity for other members. The family has to face the needs of the juvenile in trouble and raise lawyer's fees. The families also have an ethical obligation to the victim of the delinquent. Families are required to attend counselling sessions for the delinquent. This is costly and disruptive.

Juvenile delinquency is closely related to sexual activities, drug use, gang involvement, etc. All these hurt the community because they make the community unsafe, and they also led the government to spend colossal sums of money in school for safety and law enforcement.

As said, juvenile delinquency severely affects various societal groups negatively by affecting the community, families, individuals, and everyone else who lives in that particular society. The problem also challenges government, police, various social organizations, educators, faith communities, and politicians alike.

At last, we can say the effect of delinquency is always negative and bad.


It is vital to ensure that families influence children positively due to the contribution of its influence to delinquent behaviour in juveniles. It can be achieved by showing that there is strong emotional bonding in the family, and it is laying out effective strategies for communication.

Most of the children are raised from families that do not conform to the traditional form of family. It should especially be closely watched to curb the development of delinquent behaviour. Schools should also check the backgrounds of children to fill the gaps that may be left by the parents. Teachers can also help to counsel a child who is involved in violence at home or a child who has a criminal parent.

Parents should closely monitor the kind of company of their children. They should make sure that their children are engaged in productive social activities. It will help in reducing the chances of children becoming delinquents. Teachers should keep a close eye on pupils to ensure that they are involved in good activities.

Pupils should be appropriately checked in school to ensure that they should not carry any illegal objects. It will also help in identifying delinquent children so that they can be corrected in various ways.

Another way of preventing delinquency, through reducing or eradicating racism from society because it also affects badly. It always targets the delinquents in minority groups. It will help in the reduction of several juveniles in these minority groups who commit offenses.

It will also help to increase the self-esteem of teenagers of these minority groups and thus offenses caused due to low self-esteem will be limited in these minority groups.

Juvenile Justice and Rehabilitation

While the juveniles are held responsible for their violation of the law and are being kept in juvenile homes or other similar correctional facilities for public safety, the primary objective is to rehabilitate them.

The rehabilitative process includes:

  1. Psychological assessment of the crime committed by the juvenile
  2. The environment which caused it to happen
  3. Therapeutic guidance
  4. Skill development which involves them in yoga and other activities for the development of the mind.

Financial constraints of the government are a barrier to the way rehabilitation. And it also increases the involvement of social workers and non-profit organizations which has been resulted in cost-effective multi-modal rehab programs for the juveniles. Aftercare care organizations are another way for rehabs. These are special homes where the child is kept before involvement in society. These organizations are registered under the governmental nodal agency which functions for the welfare of delinquent children.

Followings, are given to juveniles at aftercare organizations:

  1. Vocational training
  2. Therapeutic training for improvement
  3. psychological behaviour
  4. Continuing education
  5. Consensus about social values
  6. Economical ability to support themselves
  7. Activities for physical and mental fitness.

After they leave the special homes and children's homes the juveniles are to be taken into After Care Organization which is transitional homes. Juveniles conflict with the law and need deep care and protection.[20] Aftercare organizations enable the juveniles to move for honesty and industrious life. After-Care organizations are set to achieve the principal aim of allowing juveniles to adapt the society. Here, the juveniles are ensured to stay in mainstream society from their past life in the institutional homes.

Aftercare organizations are temporary homes for a group of youth. Here the youths are placed to learn a trade, and also to contribute towards the functioning of the aftercare home. Any voluntary institution or organization can be designated as an after-care organization that strives to work for moulding the juveniles to achieve self-reliance. It also led to acquiring social and life skills for integrating them into the community.

In the aftercare program juveniles are also provided the facility for access to social, legal, and medical services with appropriate financial support. Regular educational and vocational training opportunities are facilitated to the juveniles at the aftercare organization for teaching them to become financially independent. And to generate their income.

The Organization must ensure regular follow-up and support after the juvenile is reintegrated into society. Members of various government bodies also work together for the reintegration of the child or juvenile into the mainstream society by enabling them psychologically and economically powerful. Also supports them after integration with society with constant monitoring over them.

Institutional and non-institutional measures both are taken for the right care and development of juveniles and also to handle the problems of children with adequacy. At last, it resorts to the welfare of the juveniles, with the use of institutional measures.

Juvenile delinquency is a way for minors to get involved in adult crime since a large percentage of criminal activity has its roots in childhood and causes major problems around the world. Today, it has become a major topic of concern and needs to be discussed on a more serious note. Difficulties increase as we enter the statistical data of developed countries compared to developing countries. It has been observed that theft and robbery contribute to a large percentage of these cases.

Murder, rape, burglary, kidnapping are a few other additions to them. based on available statistics, the perception that this crime is on the rise is not to be underestimated. In India previously Juvenile delinquency was not a great issue. It is said that the juvenile laws were Implemented half-heartedly.

But after the brutality in Nirbhaya, there was a great concern raised before the authorities to implement such a law that not only deals with juveniles in conflict with laws in a better way but also provides care and protection to delinquent juveniles. In all the cases, a person becomes delinquent when society deals with it strangely. When a juvenile sees great inequalities in society, his mind responds to the same in a bad way.

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