What Is Juvenile Delinquency?: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

What is Juvenile Delinquency?

Delinquency means the child is doing illegal activities, improper behavior, and antisocial activities.

Juvenile delinquency involves wrongdoing by a child, a child, or a young person under an age specified by the laws. 

From the legal point f view, a juvenile delinquent is a person who is below 16 years of age who indulges in the antisocial activity.

causes of juvenile delinquency
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Table of Contents

Antisocial Problems in Children

  • Truancy from school
  • Running away from home
  • Sexual problems
  • Drug and alcohol intake with dependence
  • Gambling
  • Constant disobedience
  • Stealing
  • Fire setting
  • Destructiveness
  • Cruelty
  • Other forms of delinquency that are not commonly seen are assault, robbery, rape, homicide theft, forgery, fraud, trading stolen goods and property, prostitution, and smuggling.

To learn more, you can read: Early Signs Of Antisocial Behavior in Children include: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Causes of Juvenile delinquency

Social causes

  • Children living in crime areas
  • Absent or defective creation
  • War and post-war conditions 
  • Defect of the family, like broken families, uncaring attitude of the parents.
  • The weakness of the schools, like harsh punishment by teachers

Psychological causes

  • Personality characteristics, emotional insecurity, mental illness.

Economic causes

  • Poverty leading stealing, prostitution, and other antisocial activities.

Corrective measures

  • Probation where the juvenile delinquent is kept under the supervision of the probation officer.
  • Institutions like reformatory schools, remand homes, certified schools, and auxiliary homes provide overall progression.
  • Psychological therapies, like play therapy, finger painting, psychodrama.
  • Vocational training. 

Prevention of Juvenile delinquency

  • Effective family planning so that all children are wanted is useful.
  • Methods to bring-up children should be taught at the prenatal stage, and a balance of discipline and permissiveness should be encouraged in parents. An atmosphere of emotional and financial security should be there at home. Proper physical care prevents delinquency.
  • Close contact of children with parents also prevents delinquency.
  • The energy of adolescents should be channelized to prevent delinquency.

Primary prevention

  • This extends to the removal of all factors which directly or indirectly cause delinquency.
  • Secondary prevention: which aims at prompt diagnosis and treatment of delinquency.
  • Tertiary prevention: its aims at the rehabilitation of delinquents.
  • Prevention of juvenile delinquency may extend to marriage guidance that may help to create a happier family.


It is challenging to decide whether the delinquent should be put away in an institution or treated in the community.

The therapy for delinquency should be of two types:

Corrective Therapies

  • Corrective treatments used for juvenile delinquents are:
  • In Protective therapy, which not only extends to custodial care but also probation or parole?
  • Reformative treatment to bring about specific changes in the personality and behavior of the delinquent.

Drug Therapy

  • The use of drug therapy for delinquents is beneficial only in the case of aggressive behavior. Tranquilizers’ inadequate dose needs to be given. 
  • Chlorpromazine, given orally in a dose of 25-50 mg, three times a day, is the best. Also, haloperidol can be given orally in an amount of 1.5-10 mg three times a day. In case of severe uncontrolled aggression, the injectable route can use. 


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