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INTRODUCTION
Juvenile delinquency is one of the banes of modern time, the most challenging and complex
social problem faced across the globe. It denotes criminal act committed by children who are
below the age of eighteen years. The problem of juvenile delinquency is not only faced by developed
countries but also by developing and under developed countries. Like many other countries around
the world, the rise in juvenile delinquency is a major concern in India too.
India is the second most populous country of the world. Children make up 39 % of the total
population of India (Childlineindia.org.in, 2018). 28% of the children population lie in the age group
of 6-10 year followed by 27% in the age group of 11-16 years and 16% in the age group of 16-18
years. 21.9% of the Indian population resides below the National poverty line (Asian Development
bank, 2018). Children living in extreme poverty in India account for more than 30% alone (UNICEF
and World Bank, 2016). Extreme poverty along with other factors like parental ignorance, lack of
proper education, bad neighbourhood, peer influence, migration, cultural conflict, excess use of
Trends and Factors Associated with Juvenile
Delinquency: A Study from India
ELSIE MISHRA*1AND RAMAKRISHNA BISWAL2
1Research Scholar and 2Assistant Professor,
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, National Institute of Technology
Rourkela (Odisha) India
ABSTRACT
Children are the most guileless creations. However, they develop deviancy in them due to various
social and environmental factors which impinge upon their innocence and propels and prods them to
be deviants. In the present era, juvenile has become a major social problem with a rise seen in number
of children getting involved in various unlawful activities. Involvement of both male and female
delinquents in various offences such as theft, burglary, riot, murder, and rape, carrying illegal arms and
drugs, gambling activities has increased enormously. The analysis of NCRB data from the year 2006-
2016 collected from the States and Union Territory of India exhibits that juvenile crime is rising at an
alarming rate. The paper explains various trends observed in juvenile crime based on IPC and SLL
crimes, age of the offending and gender of the offenders as well the various attributes of the juveniles
apprehended. The analysis of these data found that most juveniles have become cruel victims of
various socio-economic compulsions like poverty, lack of parental guidance, lack of education, peer
pressure etc. The problem of juvenile delinquency requires special attention and a child-friendly
approach towards protection and prevention of children for becoming deviants.
Key Words :Juvenile delinquents, Crimes, Age of offending, Attributes, NCRB reports
RESEARCH PAPER
ISSN : 2394-1405
Received : 04.08.2018; Revised : 18.08.2018; Accepted : 04.09.2018
International Journal of Applied Social Science
Volume 5 (10), October (2018) : 1613-1625
How to cite this Article: Mishra, Elsie and Biswal, Ramakrishna (2018). Trends and Factors Associated with
Juvenile Delinquency: A Study from India. Internat. J. Appl. Soc. Sci., 5 (10) : 1613-1625.
(1614) Internat. J. Appl. Soc. Sci. | Oct., 2018 | 5 (10)
internet, frustration due to less available opportunity etc. (Ferdousi, 2011) act as some of the major
attributes which lead to the development of criminal behaviour in children. Lack of proper control
by parents, guardians as well as society along with lack of self-controllead to deviancy in children
(Karzon, 2008 and Ferdousi, 2011).
According to National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) report for the year 2013, the total
number of IPC (Indian Penal Code) and SLL (Special and Local Laws) crimes committed by
juveniles have increased by 13.6% and 2.5%, respectively in comparison to that of previous year.
Juvenile crime constitutes just 1.2 per cent of the total crime occurring in India. Every year incidences
of crime by juveniles have shown a steady increase. This rise in juvenile delinquency can be
explained by attributed to factors like low income of the family, the kind of relation a child have with
parents, the education received by children etc. The paper tries to find out if any relationship exists
between the above attributes and juvenile delinquency as well as to study. The juvenile crime
trends based on gender, the type of crimes committed and the age of the juvenile offender.
Research Objectives :
1) To analyse the juvenile delinquency trends based on age, gender, type of crime and attributes
by which juveniles are classified in NCRB reports
2) To understand the attribute leading to juvenile delinquency
METHODOLOGY
The study was conducted with the data obtained from NCRB website about juvenile delinquency.
NCRB compiles crime data from all the 36 States and Union Territories of India. The information
on various crimes and offenders are collected from police reports, finally being compiled into an
annual report under publication titled Crime in India (Mukherjeeet al., 2001). Juvenile delinquency
data from NCRB reports from 2006 till 2016 are taken into consideration. The data have been then
categorically divided based on the classifications provided in Crime in India reports. IPC crimes
have been divided into five categories namely offences affecting the body (murder, attempt to
murder, hurt, kidnapping and abduction), offences against woman (rape, sexual harassment,
molestation), offences against public tranquillity( rioting), offences against property (theft, dacoity,
robbery, burglary) and miscellaneous offences (cruelty by husband/ relatives). SLL crimes are
divided into five categories, crime against scheduled castes and scheduled tribes (SC/ST Atrocity
Act), offences against state related Acts, arms/explosive (Arms Act and Explosives and Explosive
Substances Act), information technology, liquor, arms and narcotics drug (Narcotic Drugs and
Psychotropic Substances Act) and other regulatory and enforcement act (Gambling Act, Excise
Act and Prohibition Act).
RESULTSAND DISCUSSION
The information collected about juvenile delinquents from the NCRB reports are then presented
in the form of graphs and tables based on the categorization of IPC and SLL crime. This presentation
of the data shows the growth and fluctuation pattern of various crime committed by juveniles over
a decade. The graphical representation of the data will also provide information about the type of
crime most commonly committed based on age and sex of the offender, the states which have
highest crime rate under various crime heads and various attributes which may have led to
development of criminality in juveniles.
ELSIE MISHRA AND RAMAKRISHNA BISWAL
Internat. J. Appl. Soc. Sci. | Oct., 2018 | 5 (10) (1615)
Trends of Juvenile Delinquency from 2006 2016 :
As per the NCRB reports, crimes committed by juveniles like theft, rape, murder, hurt etc.
have increased steadily over the years. It is evident from the reports that juvenile crime rate has
been steadily increasing over a decade from 1.9 to 2.6 per cent as well as an increase is found in
crimes committed by juveniles in the age group of 16-18 years. Based on the understanding of the
following reports various trends relating to juvenile delinquency are discussed below:
Table 1 : Incidences of juvenile crime, Percentage of juvenile crimes to total crime and Rate of crime by
juvenile from 2006-2016
Year
Incidence of juvenile crime
Percentage of Juvenile Crimes to
Total Crimes
Rate of Crime by Juveniles
2006
25817
1.1
1.9
2007
27028
1.1
2
2008
27691
1.2
2.1
2009
28247
1.1
2
2010
25298
1
1.9
2011
27962
1.1
2.1
2012
31973
1.2
2.3
2013
35861
1.2
2.6
2014
38565
1.2
2.7
2015
33433
1.1
2.5
2016
35849
1.2
2.6
Source: NCRB reports from 2006-16 in Crime in India
As evident from Table 1 an increase in incidences of juvenile crimes is seen over a decade.
The percentage share of the crime committed by juvenile to the total cognizable offences has
remained 1.2 or 1.1. The rate of crime committed by juveniles has increased steadily over the
years. Along with the rise in incidences of juvenile crime, an increase is seen in the number of
juvenile (both boys and girls) apprehensions.
Table 2 : Total juvenile apprehended and Juvenile apprehended based on gender
Total juveniles apprehended
Boys
Girls
32145
30375
1770
34527
32671
1856
34507
32795
1712
33642
31550
2092
30303
28763
1540
33887
31909
1978
35123
33205
2058
43506
41639
1867
48230
46638
1592
41385
40468
917
44171
43089
1082
Source: NCRB reports from 2006-16 in Crime in India
Table 2 clearly displays that juvenile apprehended under various IPC and SLL crimes have
grown in considerable numbers in the present time. Involvement of boys under various crimes is
seen to be far more than girls. The total number of boys apprehended under various crime has
shown a steady increase whereas fluctuation in the number of girls apprehended under various
crime can be observed over the period.
ELSIE MISHRA AND RAMAKRISHNA BISWAL
(1616) Internat. J. Appl. Soc. Sci. | Oct., 2018 | 5 (10)
Types of Crime :
Crime can be broadly divided into two parts: IPC crimes and SLL crimes. Various types of
crime have been classified under these two categories. Based on the classifications of crime these
two categories are further subdivided. IPC crime has been subcategorized into: crime against body,
crime against state, crime against property, crime against woman and miscellaneous crimes. SLL
crimes have been subcategorized into: crime against scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, offences
against state related Acts, arms/explosive, information technology, liquor, arms and narcotics drugs
act and other regulatory and enforcement act. Based on these categorization of crime, the following
crime trends are observed in case of juvenile delinquents:
Table 3 : IPC Crimes Committed by Juvenile Delinquents from 2006-2016
Year/Type of Crimes
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
Murder
605
672
743
844
679
888
990
1007
841
853
892
Attempt to Murder
489
547
563
603
543
642
876
825
728
980
933
Hurt
355
3810
4257
3646
3800
4096
4681
4902
1568
1027
1151
Kidnapping and Abduction
271
301
254
396
524
760
789
1121
1455
1630
1538
Riot
988
1440
1574
1422
1081
1347
1690
1486
1092
1017
1315
Theft
5316
5606
5615
5253
4930
5320
552
6386
6717
6046
7717
Burglary
2675
2603
2702
2431
2271
2609
2625
2860
2546
2605
2747
Robbery
321
409
500
72
551
639
767
904
1024
1358
1276
Dacoity
99
144
161
150
97
134
174
160
182
193
218
Rape
656
746
776
798
858
1149
1175
1884
1989
1688
1903
Sexual Harassment
148
129
132
153
174
168
183
312
113
111
81
Molestation
488
476
560
474
546
573
613
1424
1591
1439
1540
Cruelty by Husband and
Relatives
219
302
239
284
283
322
261
281
209
97
0
It is clearly evident from table 3 that juveniles apprehended under crimes like murder, attempt
to murder, hurt and kidnapping and abduction have increased immensely. Incidences of riots
committed by juvenile increased over the year with marginal decrease in some years. Theft and
robbery committed by juveniles are rising while burglary and dacoity are showing minor fluctuations
in number of incidences in some years over their increasing trend. Incidences of rape and molestation
of woman committed by juveniles have increased enormously. Involvement of juveniles in the
incidence of cruelty against woman by husbands and relatives has increased till the year 2013 and
Table 4 : SLL Crimes Committed By Juveniles from 2006 -2016
Sll Crimes/Year
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
Arms Act
256
279
257
223
154
159
177
230
160
187
228
Explosives and Explosive Substances
Act
4
8
7
16
13
11
16
14
8
15
5
Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic
Substances Act
57
64
66
61
82
78
87
142
137
123
172
Sc/St (Prevention of Atrocities) Act
41
52
45
21
28
34
95
70
48
33
17
Information Technology Act
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
20
17
22
Gambling Act
891
780
596
1149
326
424
326
652
432
218
211
Excise Act
520
528
357
465
249
198
278
323
325
152
225
Prohibition Act
600
496
398
592
314
313
319
360
2079
130
173
Source: NCRB reports from 2006-16 in Crime in India
ELSIE MISHRA AND RAMAKRISHNA BISWAL
Internat. J. Appl. Soc. Sci. | Oct., 2018 | 5 (10) (1617)
reduced in the year 2014 and 2015. Incidences of cruelty by husband and relatives have been
removed from the list of IPC crimes for juveniles.
Incidence of SLL crimes against juveniles have shown a fluctuating trend over the years. As
seen in Table 4 incidences of crimes included in Arms Act and Narcotic drugs and psychotropic
substance Act against juveniles have increased considerably over the years. While incidences of
crime against children under Gambling Act, Excise Act, Prohibition Act, SC/ST (prevention of
atrocities) Act and Explosives and explosive substances Act have reduced over the years.
Table 5: Age wise IPC crimes committed by juveniles from 2006- 2016
7-12 Years
12-16 Years
16-18 Years
Year
Number
%
Numbers
%
Numbers
%
2006
1595
5
12535
39
18015
56
2007
1460
4.2
12114
35.1
20953
60.7
2008
1281
3.7
12272
35.6
20954
60.7
2009
1133
3.4
10741
31.9
21768
64.7
2010
927
3.1
10123
33.4
19253
63.5
2011
1211
3.6
11019
32.5
21657
63.9
2012
1286
3.2
12063
30.3
26473
66.5
2013
1330
3.1
13346
30.7
28830
66.3
2014
872
1.8
11220
23.2
36138
75
2015
602
1.5
11052
26.7
29731
71.8
2016
637
1.4
10957
24.8
32577
73.8
Source: NCRB reports from 2006-16 in Crime in India
Age of Juveniles :
It is clearly seen in Table 5 that highest number of juveniles apprehended under various IPC
crimes falls in the age group of 16-18 years. An increase is observed in the number of juveniles
apprehended in the age group 16-18 years over the years. A decrease is seen in the number of
juveniles apprehended in the age group of 7-12 years and 12-16 years under various crimes. Every
year the highest number of juveniles are apprehended in the age group of 16- 18 years followed by
Table 6 : Age wise gender categorization based on IPC crimes committed by juveniles from 2006-2016
7-12 Years
12-16 Years
16-18 Years
Age/ Type of Crime
Boys
Girls
Total
Boys
Girls
Total
Boys
Girls
Total
Murder
183
27
210
3107
209
3316
7541
343
7884
Attempt to Murder
94
11
105
2491
93
2584
7145
175
7320
Hurt
925
86
1011
13370
928
14298
28360
1536
298896
Kidnapping and Abduction
75
37
112
1770
151
1921
7567
315
7882
Theft
3267
261
2528
25990
798
26788
48714
959
49673
Robbery
95
2
97
2769
23
27982
7956
22
7978
Burglary
1581
60
1641
15869
207
16076
21274
275
21549
Dacoity
21
1
22
492
12
504
1985
24
2009
Riots
399
45
444
5707
431
6138
17431
810
18241
Rape
245
5
250
4295
37
4332
10199
82
10281
Molestation
100
7
107
2859
24
2883
7696
42
7738
Sexual Harassment
16
0
186
465
6
4781
1567
5
1572
Cruelty By Husband
15
21
36
388
304
692
1332
871
2203
Source: NCRB reports from 2006-16 in Crime in India
ELSIE MISHRA AND RAMAKRISHNA BISWAL
(1618) Internat. J. Appl. Soc. Sci. | Oct., 2018 | 5 (10)
juveniles in the age group of 12-16 years and 7-12 years.
Theft, hurt, burglary, riots, rape and murder are the crimes which are highly committed by both
boys and girls of all ages throughout the years as seen in Table 6. Theft as a crime is committed
highly by both boys and girls over all the three age groups, followed by burglary, hurt and riots for
both boys and girls. Boys in all these age groups have committed more crimes like theft, hurt,
burglary, riots, rape and murder. In case of girls, crime like theft, hurt, burglary, riots and cruelty by
husband and relatives show a rising number in all age groups.
Table 7: Age wise SLL crimes committed by juveniles from 2006- 2016
7-12 Years
12-16 Years
16-18 Years
Year/ Age
Number
%
Numbers
%
Numbers
%
2006
485
9.2
1640
31.3
3121
59.5
2007
310
6.5
1434
30.2
3012
63.3
2008
178
5
1123
31.7
2244
63.3
2009
177
3.8
1128
24.2
3360
72
2010
169
6
786
27.8
1877
66.2
2011
333
10.7
971
31.1
1817
58.2
2012
403
9.3
1117
25.6
2837
65.1
2013
394
8.3
1321
27.9
3026
63.8
2014
204
3.6
686
12.1
4774
84.3
2015
51
2.2
515
22.3
1745
75.5
2016
24
1
610
26
1711
73
Source: NCRB reports from 2006-16 in Crime in India
It is evident from Table 7 that juveniles apprehended under various SLL crimes have decreased
over the years. A significant decrease in number of juveniles apprehended in the age group of 7-12
years is found while fluctuation is observed in the number of the juveniles apprehended in the age
group of 12-16 years and 16-18 years. Highest number of juveniles in the age group of 16-18 years
have committed more SLL crime, compared with juveniles in the age group of 7-12 years and 12-
16 years.
Table 8 : Age wise gender categorization based on SLL crimes committed by juveniles from 2006-2016
7-12 Years
12-16 Years
16-18 Years
Age/ Crimes
Boys
Girls
Total
Boys
Girls
Total
Boys
Girls
Total
Arms Act
16
0
16
510
4
5814
1968
1
1969
Explosives and Explosive
Substances Act
4
0
4
41
0
41
128
2
130
Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic
Substances Act
19
0
19
226
21
247
924
25
949
SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities)
Act
10
0
10
128
12
140
409
22
431
Information Technology Act
8
0
8
15
0
15
60
1
61
Gambling Act
34
0
34
1285
61
1346
5761
70
5831
Excise Act
22
8
30
806
45
851
2862
130
2992
Prohibition Act
58
10
68
764
174
938
4057
987
5044
Source: NCRB reports from 2006-16 in Crime in India
ELSIE MISHRA AND RAMAKRISHNA BISWAL
Internat. J. Appl. Soc. Sci. | Oct., 2018 | 5 (10) (1619)
Table 8 clearly shows that boys of all ages have committed more crime than girls. More
juveniles (both boys and girls) in all age groups have been apprehended under Gambling Act,
Excise Act and Prohibition Act. Increase in number of juveniles especially boys is observed in
crimes like Arms Act and Narcotic drugs and psychotropic substance Act in the age group of 12-
16 years and 16-18 years.
Classification of juveniles apprehended based on different attributes from 2006-2016
NCRB has identified the three attributes of juvenile delinquents namely:
Table 9 : Classification of Juveniles Based on Educational Status
Years
Illiterate
Primary
Above Primary But
Below Matric
Matric / H.Sec. and Above
2006
7975
12688
9405
2077
2007
7926
12659
10620
3322
2008
9069
12544
10072
2822
2009
7781
11653
10461
3747
2010
6339
11086
9855
3023
2011
6122
12803
10519
4443
2012
7226
13459
13983
5154
2013
8392
13984
15423
5812
2014
10530
15004
17637
5059
2015
4757
14229
19056
3343
2016
5412
14501
20014
4244
Source: NCRB reports from 2006-16 in Crime in India
It is clearly observed from Table 9 that juveniles who have attended middle (standard V to IX)
school have committed more crime followed by children who have attended school till primary level
(standard I to IV). Juveniles who have completed matriculation and above have committed less
crime. Juveniles who are illiterate/ never attended any school or formal education have committed
significantly less crime than juveniles who have attended school and had some sort of formal
education.
Table 10 : Classification of Juveniles Based on Living Status
Years
Living with Guardians
Homeless
Living with Parents
2006
4958
2197
24990
2007
5099
2354
27074
2008
4852
1848
27807
2009
4657
2352
26633
2010
4082
1672
24549
2011
4386
1924
27577
2012
5793
2390
31639
2013
5800
2462
35244
2014
7905
1632
38693
2015
4315
1622
35448
2016
4550
1560
38061
Source: NCRB reports from 2006-16 in Crime in India
ELSIE MISHRA AND RAMAKRISHNA BISWAL
(1620) Internat. J. Appl. Soc. Sci. | Oct., 2018 | 5 (10)
Majority of the juveniles who are apprehended under various crimes are staying with their
parents followed by juveniles living with guardians as seen in Table 10. Homeless children contribute
very little to the crime committed; thereby emphasising children learn antisocial behaviour from
parents and family environment.
Table 11 : Classification of Juveniles Based on the Income Group
Years
Annual
Income
(Upto
Rs.25,000)
Annual
Income (Rs.
25,001 To
Rs.50,000)
Middle
Income (Rs.
50,001 To Rs.
1,00,000)
Middle
Income (Rs.
1,00,001 To
Rs. 2,00,000)
Upper Middle
Income (Rs.
2,00,001 To
Rs. 3,00,000)
Upper Income
(Above Rs.
3,00,000
2006
23268
6353
1913
499
52
60
2007
23626
7296
2339
1037
136
93
2008
21453
8025
3885
826
281
37
2009
21576
7450
3151
1142
290
33
2010
18980
7310
2836
860
257
60
2011
19230
9059
3892
1212
398
96
2012
21049
10360
5458
1972
648
335
2013
21860
11885
6494
2296
626
240
2014
26809
10813
6887
2507
776
439
2015
17543
11695
7982
2757
951
457
2016
-
-
-
-
-
-
Source: NCRB reports from 2006-16 in Crime in India
Majority of the juveniles come from families having an annual income less than Rs. 25,000
followed by juveniles whose families’ annual income varies between Rs. 25,000-50,000. Less number
of juveniles are apprehended from upper middle income families and upper income families. Marginal
number of juveniles belong to families in the middle income group (Rs. 50,000-2, 000000). This
clearly states that maximum of the juvenile population belong to poor families with low income.
Discussion :
Increase in juvenile crimes is a serious concern. Analysing the data collected on juvenile
delinquents from NCRB, it is clear that with each passing year the juvenile involvement in the
commission of various crimes have been increasing. IPC crime like theft, burglary, hurt, riots, rape
and molestation of woman have increased. In case of SLL crime, involvement of juveniles in
gambling, excise act, prohibition act, narcotic drugs and arms are found to be huge. Highest number
of juveniles are convicted under various IPC crimes in various states of India. The states having
the most apprehended juvenile delinquents are Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh followed by
Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The country’s capital Delhi, has shown increase in molestation, rape and
burglary too. The increase in incidence of theft and burglary can be attributed to the low income of
the family. While increase in incidences of hurt, rape and molestation can be alluded to social media
influences (like porn movies and magazines, internet etc.).
The maximum age of criminal responsibility in India for juveniles is 18 years and minimum age
of criminal responsibility is 7 years. Children below 7 years cannot be convicted as they are believed
to be immature. Based on NCRB reports from 2006- 2016 it is clear that children in the age group
of 16- 18 years of age i.e., in adolescent phase of their life have committed more crime. Theft,
burglary, hurt, rape and molestation seem to be committed mostly by juveniles in this age group.
ELSIE MISHRA AND RAMAKRISHNA BISWAL
Internat. J. Appl. Soc. Sci. | Oct., 2018 | 5 (10) (1621)
The reason behind this increase can be better explained by the age-crime curve explained by Hirshi
and Gottfredson, 1983 (as cited in Farrington, 2007) .The age- crime relationship is bell shaped
known as the age-crime curve. The prevalence of offending tends starts increasing from late
childhood and peaks during the teenage years (15-19 years) and gradually decline in their early 20’s
(Farrington, 2007). According to Blokland and Hanneke (2012) the curve for violent crime peaks at
a late stage than for property crime. The reason behind increase in crime rate during adolescence
is explained by various social scientists, criminologists, psychologists, sociologists and
neuropsychologists. Neurological studies conducted in 21st century give ample evidence that
development of brain regarding emotional maturity, decision making and risk taking continue well
into mid 20’s (Farringtonet al., 2012). There is more influence and importance of peers during the
adolescent years, (Labile et al., 2000; Warr, 2002) and therefore it is not at all uncommon that most
adolescents commit crimes in this age groups (McCord and Conway, 2005). Most adolescents who
break the law do so with the help of their peers. It is so because psychosocial capacities which
improves decision making and leads to reduced risk taking behaviour such as “ impulse control,
emotional regulation, delay in gratification and resistance to peer influence continue to mature well
into young adulthood” (Steinberg, 2007).
The study found that boys commit more crime in comparison to girls. This trend is also observed
in all the three age categories. Girls are involved in same type of crimes like boys. Highest incidences
of theft, burglary, riot are reported against girls and boys. Crimes like murder, attempt to murder
and cruelty by husbands and relatives have shown an increase in commission by girls in the age of
12-16 years and 16-18 years over the years while crime like rape, molestation and sexual harassment
committed by boys increase in the same age groups. Increase in theft, burglary, riots committed
largely by juveniles of both the sexes can be attributed to similar risk factors like economic status of
the family, neighbourhood and type as well as influence of peers. Though boys and girls share
almost many similar risk factors causing deviancy but boys and girls are very differently affected
by these risk factors. Even though they are exposed to similar kind of risk factors which can be
linked to their offending still there exist some differences in thelevel of risk conferred and the rate
of exposure for particular risk factors. Victimization of girls in home, community or at school seems
to be a predominant factor for the development of violent behaviour in girls (Molnar et al., 2005).
As girls have greater chance to internalize negative emotions like depression and anxiety when
abused. In some cases they show externalizing behaviour, like becoming violent for self-protection
from further abuse, or due to anger on the abuser (Zahn et al., 2008). Gender disparity in number
of incidences of crime committed by juveniles can be better linked to family dynamics and parental
expectation regarding their sons’ and daughters’ obedience to their authority which differ for son
and daughter (Chesney-Lind, 1988 and Zahn et al., 2008). Many researchers state that girls share
a stronger connections to their family than boys throughout life (Gecas and Seff, 1990) and this
strong family connection most often prevents girls from committing crime. Studies show that when
this strong connection weakens due to sexual abuse, instability, violence or due to lack of parental
supervision, girls may indulge themselves in risk-taking behaviours which can lead to delinquency in
future (Zahn et al., 2010).
Attributes Contributing to Juvenile Delinquency :
There are several social attributes that may contribute towards turning a child into a deviant.
Social factors like family influence, economic background, bad neighbourhood, deviant peer and
educational failure can be seen as some of the crucial attributes which can lead a child to the path
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of criminality. The three main attributes of juvenile delinquents discussed in NCRB reports are
family background (living status of children), education of the juveniles and economic status of the
juvenile’s family. These three attributes are discussed below to show its probable influence in
development of deviancy in children.
Family :
Analysis of the data collected from NCRB from the year 2006- 2016 shows that children
residing with parents have committed more crime than children who are homeless and living with
guardian. Researcher found that lack of parental supervision, parental rejection, absence of parental
involvement, parent’s martial relation and criminality of parents in a family can lead to development
of criminality in the child (Wright and Wright, 1994). Inept socialization of the children by the
parents can lead to the development of some kind of criminality in the children. Lack of socialization
along with further lack in social skills can lead to the rejection of children by his/her peers and other
skilled person. This rejection of the children leads the child to develop association with children with
similar anti-social behaviour (Synder and Patterson, 1987; Wright and Wright, 1994). Lack of parental
control along with antisocial behaviour of parents can also lead to development of criminality in the
child (Henggler, 1989; Wright and Wright, 1994). Low income is another factor that causes depression
in parents who have children dependent on them. This leads to lack of tolerance and patience in
parents’ towards the child’s misbehaviour and the parents use highly authoritarian power
(Weatherburn et al., 1997) and sometimes also beat and abuse their children.
Economic Background :
It is seen from the data that most of the children belong to family whose annual income is less
than 25,000 rupees. This shows that majority of the juveniles present in the system belong to
poverty stricken families. It is generally seen that children belonging to low income and delinquent
areas (slums of megacities) become delinquents very quickly than other children. Extreme economic
deprivation can put extra pressure on neighbourhood disorganization and academic failure. Thus,
increasing the problems in areas which have extreme poverty and greater unemployment (Farrington,
1991). Children who live in economically deprived communities and have anti-social and problematic
behaviour develop problems like school dropouts, teen pregnancy, alcohol drinking, substance abuse
and adult criminal behaviour in future (Hawkinset al., 1992). It is also seen that children belonging
to low socio-economic status residing in low socio- economic neighbourhood are more likely to
become criminally linked. Low socio-economic neighbourhood has higher number of delinquent
population and thus leading to production of more juvenile delinquents by the process of interaction
with them (Weatherburn et al., 1997).
Educational Failure :
The data shows that majority of the juveniles delinquents have attended school till primary
level. Less number of juvenile delinquents are found to be illiterate. It is evident from Table 11 that
children who have completed 10th standard have committed less crime. The increase in crime rate
among primary school goers can be attributed to their failure in school. Failure in school leads to
disinterest in learning, thus, their commitment to come to school. A student’s feeling of isolation and
perception of not receiving enough emotional support can lead to delinquency or aggressive behaviour
(Gottfredson, 1997). To compensate the feeling of failure and isolation children usually develop
friendship with delinquent peers. These involvement with bad peers gives them a sense of self
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worthiness and belongingness. Therefore to prove their affiliation to their peers, children usually
commit deviant behaviour. It is also seen that poor performance in school can lead to commitment
of serious violent crimes (Hawkinset al., 1998) by children.
Lack of parental guidance, love and care for the children, low income of the family and failure
in school puts a great deal of stress on a child. The feeling of stress and anxiety by a child can lead
to development of certain behavioural changes which can be further aggravated by certain factors
like bad peer influence, bad neighbourhood, abuse in the family etc. When all these factors are
combined together they make it very conducive for creating juvenile delinquents. Certain steps can
be taken to reduce the involvement of children in deviancy.
Recommendations :
The study shows that juvenile delinquency has an exponential growth over the past decade.
To control this malaise, certain necessary steps need to be taken up further. Therefore, the
recommendations provided for reducing juvenile delinquency might help the professionals working
with juvenile delinquents and the Government to take some preventive steps towards betterment of
children’s living, educational and their economic conditions. The recommendations are:
1) Since lack of educational support from parents and teachers and companionship of bad
and dishonest peer’s lead to delinquency, emotionally supportive educational system is along with
impartial teachers with high moral standards are highly necessary for preventing and controlling
delinquency.
2) It has been found that bad companions are considered as one of the basic cause of
delinquency. Therefore, parents need to be careful and supervise the activities of their children
meticulously and continuously.
3) Children must be made aware of the problems they will face in future due to commission
of crime. To make them law abiding citizens, proper information should be provided to children as
well as to their families about the possible negative outcomes like imprisonment, fine etc.
4) Recreational and developmental activities for young masses should be provided to the
children to vent out their pent up physical and emotional energies.
5) Skill development programs should be provided for income generation, thereby giving the
unskilled adolescents an opportunity for earning their livelihood through professional training programs.
Government should organize such initiatives.
6) With the help of competent professionals psychological help and support should be provided
by the Government to the children in the system for their better mental health and growth.
Conclusion :
Cases of juvenile delinquency has been increasing at a startling rate, with the growth in population
and changing life style in India. Fast growing states like Delhi, Maharashtra, and UP etc. are faced
with a gruelling challenge of controlling juvenile crime. This increase in juvenile crime is basically
seen on the children in the age of 16-18 yearsi.e., those who are in their adolescence phase of life.
The juveniles in this age category are highly involved in crime like theft, burglar, riot, hurt and rape
cases. All these crimes committed by juveniles can be broadly attributed to family, failure in education,
low income of the family, bad peer influence, bad neighbourhood etc. Therefore, it is very much
essential to help children with their moral and intellectual development. Children learn morals and
values from their family and from the environment they grow in. When children are not provided
with proper socialization to demarcate right from wrong, they consequently, get involved in adverse
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situations. Thus, they become the victims of their bad environment. Lack of proper socializations
from family and friends leads to development of antisocial and behavioural problems in children.
Poverty, parental ignorance, lack of supervision, failure in school, apathy from society etc. can be
termed as some of the major factors influencing juvenile offences.
Socially and legally sanctioned preventive measures need to be taken up to control juvenile
delinquency as delinquency is essentially believed to be a product of individual environment. It is
also absolutely necessary to protect the rights and well-being of the juvenile delinquent at the same
time. Rather than labelling the juveniles as criminals, thereby making their chances of reintegration
into the society impossible, rehabilitative, reformative and re-integrative measures should be adopted
to bring juvenile delinquents into the mainstream. Therefore, family and community should be included
in mitigating the problem of juvenile delinquency.
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