Today, India must face a harsh truth that concerns the tenderest members of its society- the children of this nation.
In the recent years gone by, the rate of juvenile crimes in India has increased rapidly. Children are found to be involved in the most heinous of the crimes like murder, rape, burglary, theft and kidnapping. It is a distressing tendency that is plaguing the whole society.
Juvenile delinquency refers to the violation of criminal code and indulgence in certain patterns of behavior (commitment of crime or offenses) not approved for children. This law particularly concerns those children who are below the age at which ordinary criminal prosecution is possible. There are numerous causes of delinquent behavior;some of them are as follows:-
2. Broken homes
3. Adolescent instability
4. Parental neglect
8. Mental disorders
9. An inability to delay gratification
10. Drug abuse
11. Alcohol consumption
12. Substance abuse
One must remember that children learn various behavioral patterns from vicarious experiences. In this regard, movies and television plays a major part. A research by K.D Sikka stated that films and programs depicting superstition, violence or vulgarity could induce delinquent behavior in children. Parents and caregivers need to control and supervise the content that their child is watching. In addition, as John Locke mentioned, “a child’s mind is a blank slate”. This is the concept of tabula rasa. In other words, a child is an uncut diamond; the society and family are responsible for its development. Therefore, if caregivers treat a child with adequate care, fulfill their basic needs and do not let the child involve in bad company, the chances of the latter being involved in delinquent behavior become negligible.
Hot-blooded adolescents are constantly either in search of some adventure or in the pursuit to try something new. The adrenaline rush they achieve afterwards enhances the curiosity to experiment. Hence, the tremendous amount of energy the adolescents posses makes them fall prey to this negativity. The major reason behind this is faulty parenting and a lack or absence of parental support and negligence. This leads to
aggression, restlessness, and irritation in children.
Furthermore, parents nowadays are busy establishing successful careers for themselves; they try to compensate their absence by material goods or gifts. The discontented child turns aggressive, and in worst conditions, even antagonistic.
They become oblivious to the extent of harming not only themselves, but others as well. Their peers, or the so-called supporters, misuse and exploit their energy by coaxing these children to indulge in various anti-social activities.
Several researches have estimated that one juvenile is arrested on the charge of rape every four hours on an average in India. The Union Home Ministry’s latest data revealed that between January 1 and December 31, 2016, some 2054 juveniles were arrested for rape (one every 4.2 hours, to be exact). Furthermore, 1627 children were arrested for assaulting women or outraging their modesty.
From Damini’s case (16 December 2012) to Ryan’s International murder case (8September 2017) and many others that go unreported, call for help of the whole society to be in charge for the guidance and constructive molding of future generations.
Most importantly, there have been times when a juvenile was admitted twice or thrice to the same rehabilitation center or psychiatric care for the same behavior. This could be happening due to improper rehabilitation facilities. The fact that the delinquents return to the same surrounding or family environment where they came from might also be a problem. The environment they return to might include broken homes,
familial conflicts and problematic peer groups which could have instigated their delinquent behavior in the first place (as stated by Juvenile Justice Board).
Other researchers have represented that how drug abuse, tobacco, and alcohol consumed by children leads to juvenile acts. The report presented by Ministries of Health, Social Justice and Empowerment depicted the correlation of greater involvement of substance abuse to the severity of the crime committed by abusers.
Therefore, drugs and substance abuse can have both direct and indirect effects on criminality. A research conducted by Shridhar Sharma, Gautam Sharma and Bristi Barkataki at Prayas Observation Home, New Delhi in 2016 also concluded that out of 487 children , 86% juvenile delinquents had a history of substance abuse.
We conclude by saying that we cannot eradicate this menace overnight. However, we can certainly develop stringent measures to prevent its manifestation. With the Juvenile Justice Act working on the issue, we as a society should come up with reformative methods to impart moral values to children that enrich them and gives them a chance to mold themselves constructively. Mentoring programs, conflict resolution, violence prevention programs, afterschool recreational programs and comprehensive community programs can aid the positive development of the youth.
Meanwhile, connecting youngsters to good Psychologists like those at Mind Solace can also be helpful. These mental health professionals will help the former by helping them attain good mental health. As levels of aggression and impulsivity must be controlled for that purpose, this would help the youth avoid tendencies that might turn them into juvenile delinquents.
India is a young nation and the youth constitutes a major chunk of its population. If we fail to cater to the needs of our youngsters today, we will be ensuing disregard for the India of today and tomorrow.