A crime is termed juvenile delinquency when committed by a young person under a certain age. The age of juvenile delinquent is not uniform all over the world. In India the age for boys is 16 years and 18 for the boys. There are certain behaviors that are not considered criminal in nature if committed by adults but they will be taken note as crime if committed by youth. For example a person below the age of 16 years who is uncontrollable by his parents or guardians by reasons such as disobedient. Habitually play truant and trouble maker at school. Habitually behaves in such a way as to endanger the morale or health of himself/herself.
Ever since society was organized and codes of conduct were formulated there have always been individuals including juveniles and adults who have violated the codes. The increase in such behavior has reached alarming proportions including unlawful activities have affected the smooth functioning of the society. The loss of life, property and the pain inflicted is reaching quite serious dimensions.
Family is the first crucial group in the life of the child. Family nurtures a child's social and personal growth. Within the family lie tremendous forces for producing or presenting anti social behavior. This is because it has exclusive contact with the child during the period of dependency. When a family is rejecting or neglectful the child learns distrust, hostility or hatred of people. Many times in broken homes that may have caused by death, desertion or divorce/separation of parents the negative impact is felt on the children who tend to find it difficult to conform to social rules. Many studies have pointed to the high incidence of structural breaks in the family backgrounds of delinquent youth. In disharmonious families children are often pushed from home because of disturbances. They seek outside contacts for resolving feelings of insecurity and frustration. Socialization is the process through which the child becomes aware of the basic values of his society and acquires the attitudes characteristics of it.Each family training influences strongly the inculcation of these values. The child must learn which action is permitted or prohibited.
Poverty in the family has been another popular explanation for delinquency but research have shown that most of those who commit the offence were not driven by hunger rather by the envy and ambition that stimulate petty crimes in the same way that greed urges on the big-time criminals. Conditions of affluence are no sure guarantee against the law violations by youth.
Because of poverty and poor circumstances the options of the children get severely limited. In families larger than the average with little living space and inadequate facilities the children are driven to seek their recreations on the streets. When there is little money within the family to provide for the minimum basic necessities of food, clothing, education etc., it imposes extraordinary strains on the family. The parents in such situations can take little or no interest in their children.
Slum neighborhoods also sometimes encourage delinquent behavior, as pressure to make a decent living is much higher for the people residing here. They also want the same good things that they see others enjoying but at times it is difficult to get them honestly due to lack of education or opportunity. Many times crime becomes an accepted way of life an alternative to the honest work. They are also exposed to the undesirable elements. Crime and delinquency thus become attractive.
There is growing concern these days that the mass media have also become a source of unhealthy influence particularly on children. Sensational reporting by detailing the modus operandi can affect the readers in dangerous ways. They some times indicate that there are methods of evading the law or project unnecessary violence that influence impressionable minds.