Socio-Demographic Correlation of children suffering from Juvenile Delinquency

Ms. Shweta Sharma    02-02-2016 Consult

Reports in various researches and surveys show an increase in the delinquent behaviour of the students aged 14-20 years not only in developed countries but also in developing countries like India. Juvenile Delinquent is a person who is under age (usually below 18), who is found to have committed a crime in states which have declared by law that a minor lacks responsibility and thus may not be sentenced as an adult.These juvenile delinquents sometimes have mental disorders/behavioral issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder or bipolar disorder, and are sometimes diagnosed with conduct disorder.Many factors like schools, neighborhood, Family, Society, Situations are equally responsible for the degradation or fall of a child. Hence, instead of labeling them as one we must try and find ways, rectify the errors in their lives, which led them to behave in this manner. Children are soft clay, we can mould them, we have the art, we have the knowledge, all that is needed is faith and patience which if we fail to practice, resulting in the complete reformation of a child to anti-social elements and thereby criminals, which is wrong on our part. In this study, we are trying to know socio-demographic variables, which might play a vital role in the development of criminals. To know the Socio-Demographic Correlates in Indian Scenario, we have conducted a research study in which we found following results:-

  1. Juvenile delinquents were mostly in the age group of 15 to 17 year with a rapid decline in 18 years of age.
  2. Majority belonged to slum urban background followed by rural and urban areas.
  3. They were mostly educated upto primary level, were poor in studies, had left studies due to lack of interest or financial problems and wanted to resume their studies.
  4. Majority belonged to nuclear family. Parents had little time to spent with them and had poor social environment though they had average 2 to 6 friends and could share their secrets with their friends.
  5. Majority of them had lower middle to poor socio-economic status and fewer physically abused in their childhood frequently.
  6. Majority of then involved in stealing followed by murder and rape.

These findings are consistent with earlier findings too. Highlighting previous findings:

  1. It is stated that delinquency escalates rapidly as individuals enter their ten years and then declines almost as rapidly as they enter their late teens and early twenties. 
  2. Poverty and poor living condition are associated with juvenile delinquency.
  3. Socio-economic status and family status have been reported to make both joint and independent contributions to deviant behavior, may be because these children are unable to get proper education due to poverty and they have to do some work for income and their childhood is snatched from him.
  4. Children/youth from non-traditional families[single parent, reconstituted] have a far greater chance of engaging in delinquent behavior than children/youth from traditional families. 
  5. One of the reasons why children from joint family may be less likely to engage in delinquency is the presence of family resources.
  6. Parents who are poor in communication skills, unable to establish strong emotional ties and/or provide little to no support for children risk seeing them engage in delinquent behavior.
  7. Type of society and neighborhood also marks an individual's ability to deal with delinquency. This can be explained in the light of the social learning theory in which it was postulated that the child observes and then imitates the behavior of adults or other children around him or her. Poor or inadequate peer group influences resulted in deviant behavior.
  8. Spending time with deviant friends exerts a great deal of pressure on a young person to adopt the same behaviors.

Physical abuse was found to be positively correlated with the type of crime, those with history of physical abuse were involved in crimes like murder, rape and stealing.

Conclusion & Implication

As it is evident from the above discussion that it's not just the will of an individual which makes him get into the world of wrong deeds, all other factors like schools, neighborhood, Family, Society, Situations are equally responsible for the degradation or fall of a child. A grave problem such as juvenile delinquency can't be solved by means of legislation and government efforts alone. As far as India is concerned in many of the states children Acts have not been effectively enforced. Some of these Acts themselves have effects. Official machinery is not effectively used for controlling this problem. Government and private agencies must work hand in hand with all sincerity and seriousness to find an effective remedy for the problem of juvenile delinquency. The public attitude towards Juvenile delinquents must also change. A juvenile delinquent is a product of unwholesome environment congenial for the development of his faculties in conformity with social expectations.