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19 Apr 2024, Edition - 3202, Friday

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Most delinquents are minors with dysfunctional families, say experts

Archana Rohit


Dysfunctional family is the main reason for the juvenile to engage in criminal behaviours, says expert.

Ineffective parental behaviour, parental substance abuse, single parent, family conflict and mistreatment during childhood are few reasons that act as trigger for the child to engage in criminal activities, according to Child Welfare Committee member V Menan.

Juvenile Delinquency means the involvement of of teenagers in an unlawful behaviour, committing an act which is considered as crime.

“A child is born innocent, but unhealthy atmosphere fostered at home, negligence of basic necessities, wrong company, peer pressure promote adoption of harmful behaviour. It can start with as small as lying, then escalate to stealing. If the behaviour is corrected in the beginning with the right approach it reduces the likelihood of delinquency.” says psychologist Aarohi.

“Sometimes children who are not performing well in school, have low cognitive ability which leads to low self-esteem. The child then tries and overcompensates to prove himself by being a bully or resorting to unlawful behaviour. They will run away from their homes at times. It is purely a cry for help as the child is merely seeking attention.” says psychiatrist Dr Mridula Pradeep

Child Welfare Officer Dr R Sakila says “There are high chances of runaway cases from home becoming juvenile delinquents. The punishment is decided based on the gravity of the act.”

There are four sections under which juvenile delinquents are categorised (a) individual delinquency, (b) group delinquency, (c) organized delinquency, and (d) situational delinquency. If the juvenile has committed a gory or heinous crime that juvenile will have to face the punishment of that as an adult.

“Physical punishment along with adequate explanation will be helpful in case of children, However, for correcting the behaviour of an adolescent, the method can be counterproductive. We need to identify the problem whether it genetic, environmental, social or psychological. Identify where the deficits are and groom them in the right way with society.” says Dr Mridula

If the child is to return to the same environment, the vicious circle will continue. A few sittings in counseling may not change the delinquent totally. There is the need to rehabilitate the delinquent and give him something that is rewarding. A holistic approach should be used. Research shows spreading awareness programmes for children as well as parents can have an impact on reducing the incidence of juvenile delinquency, she adds.

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