Juvenile Delinquency: Causes and Prevention

Many movies depict children from low-income families as thieves, stealing from people, wandering at night, and doing things that are not expected of them. Why are only the poor shown as thieves? Is stealing limited to children from low-income families, or are there other reasons a child is forced to commit crimes? What factors could be there that would force a child to become a delinquent and risk his future? Can such acts be prevented?

What is the Meaning of Juvenile Delinquency?

Juvenile delinquents are criminals, boys, and girls, typically under sixteen (The Children Act, 1974). Although some laws define juvenile offenders as teenagers under 18, both ages fulfill the same function. A juvenile delinquent is a young person who is incorrigible or habitually disobedient (The Penal Code, 1860). Acts of delinquency may include running away from home without the permission of parents, Habitual truancy beyond the control of parents, spending time idly beyond limits, use of vulgar language, wandering about railroads, streets, and marketplaces, visiting gambling centers, committing sexual offenses, shoplifting, stealing, etc.

Causes of Juvenile Delinquency

It includes

The family environment

the family context, the degree of parental supervision; how parents discipline a child, particularly harsh punishment; parental conflict or separation; parents who are criminals themselves or have criminal siblings; parental abuse or neglect; and the nature of the parent-child relationship are all family variables that may have an impact on crime. Compared to children raised by two natural parents, those raised by a single parent are more likely to begin misbehaving. Children of single parents are also more likely to experience poverty, which is closely linked to juvenile criminality. However, when the degree of parental monitoring and the attachment a child feels toward their parent or parents are considered, children in single-parent families are no more likely to offend than others. Being raised by a single parent is significantly less associated with offending than parental conflict. A child is far more prone to acting inappropriately if there is less parental supervision.

Peer influence

peer groups significantly impact a criminal's decision. Teenagers, for instance, who participate in sports or social programs but do not meet the anticipated standards of academic accomplishment often get lost in the competition. Children from the family unable to afford decent housing and basic requirements may also fall victim to the trap. According to many experts, these young people may join criminal gangs over their peers at school because gang membership confers respect and status differently. Criminal conduct and antisocial behavior in gangs are rewarded with respect and street cred.

Surrounding environment

Poor company and the circumstances around them sometimes encourage young people to act out. Due to their young age, kids are unable to comprehend the long-term effects of their actions. They risk becoming stuck in the smuggling and slum areas environment. Sometimes young people who are associated with bad people visit brothels, use drugs, and engage in other types of illegal behavior.

Due to unemployment and the loss of riverside land

people are moving from villages to cities. They remain without access to essential requirements and seek refuge in slum areas, pavements, and streets. Politicians utilized the kids in the dawn to dusk strikes, and the kids either picketed or ransacked cars or shop windows. Usually, the parent flees their home while battling for survival and leaves their children uncared for and in the open. Additionally, the crooks use the youngster for petty theft and pickpocketing.

Growing urbanization and industrialization

are to blame for the issue of adolescent delinquency. Sociologists and criminologists view delinquency as a byproduct of the transitional stage, which is the process by which the majority of the population moves from being peasants to being members of the industrial working class. The industrialization has yet to progress at the anticipated rate. Examining the economy, politics, and religious institutions reveals a struggle between traditional and contemporary principles, neither ruling the lives of the populace. Anomie has developed as a result of this struggle, making people more susceptible to acting in a delinquent manner.


Since the causes of juvenile delinquency are clear, certain interventions need to be applied to prevent such acts. They are as follows


Model programs have given families and kids information that has benefited them. Some programs teach parents how to raise healthy children; others educate children about the dangers of drugs, gangs, sex, and weapons; others attempt to instill in young people the inherent value they and all other people possess. All of these initiatives teach young people that their actions have repercussions, and this is crucial at a time when young people are constantly exposed to sexual and violent imagery. The overarching goal of educational initiatives is to provide young people with hope and possibilities.


Recreational activities occupying unsupervised after-school hours is one of its primary advantages. According to data from the Department of Education, teenage crime rates peaked at 3 p.m. and are most likely to occur between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Youth recreation programs allow them to interact with local adults and kids. Such wholesome friendships may benefit kids in the future. Youth programs can involve sports, dancing, music, rock climbing, theatre, karate, bowling, art, and other activities depending on the personalities and skills of the various children.

Prenatal and infancy home nurse visitation:

Between the third trimester and the child's second year of life, nurses who are a part of the "Prenatal and Infancy Home Visitation by Nurses" program visit low-income single moms. During these visits, nurses concentrate on the health of the mother and child, the support systems in the mother's life, and the mother and child's enrollment in health and human services programs. According to a 15-year follow-up study, moms and kids who participated in the program had fewer rates of child maltreatment, runaways, and arrests for minors overall. In the study group, maternal behavioral issues also dramatically decreased

Parent-Child integration training program

It takes parents and kids about 12 weeks to finish the "Parent-Child Integration Training Program." It is made to help parents of children who have significant behavioral issues and are between the ages of two and seven learn parenting techniques. The initiative puts parents and kids in situations where they can interact. The parents are led by a therapist who instructs them on the best ways to react to either positive or negative conduct from their child. Thanks to the program, children's hyperactivity, attention deficit, aggression, and worried behavior have all been found to decrease.


Juvenile delinquency is committing a crime by an offender younger than 18. Juvenile delinquency is very common in India as the poverty rates are high, children from low social classes do not have any resources and are pushed into such things without supervision, parents lose control over their children, migration, and many such things. Such things must be controlled as children must be put on the right path to advance the nation. Some prevention techniques include education, recreational activities, knowledge, parent-child programs, and correcting malfunctioning family dynamics.

Updated on: 21-Dec-2022

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