Role of Family in the Juvenile Crimes in the Indian Society

Juvenile crime is a public issue which affects the society as a whole. Or the large part of the society. The maximum age today for juvenile crimes according to the Juvenile Justice Act of 1986 is 16 years for boys and 18 years for girls. But earlier, according to the Children Acts, the age of juvenile crime varied from state to state. In States like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Kerala, it was 16 years but in states like Assam, Karnataka and Rajasthan, it was 16 years for boy and 18 years for girls. Youth who are involved in status offences such as truancy, immorality, un-governability and vagrancy also fall within the definition of Juvenile crime. The term Juvenile Crime applies to the; violation of criminal code and/or pursuit of certain pattern of behaviour disapproved of for children and young adolescents. The highest numbers of crimes committed by the juveniles under the Indian Panel Code are against property, that is, theft, robbery, dacoit and burglary.

JuvenileIt has been found that the juvenile crimes are quite higher in the Indian society which might have being accustomed with many factors. Poverty/poor economic background, illiteracy/low educational background, under-development and in fact urbanization, modernization and industrialization have also fed to the beast of juvenile crime. It has been found that the westernization and modernization have loosened the strings of family values and control over the youngsters. Juvenile crime is found to be more in the urban areas than the rural ones in the Indian society. The metropolitan cities in India produce more juvenile crimes than the small cities and towns.

However a number of factors play an important role in juvenile crimes which may be further divided into two groups-individual factors and situational factors. The individual factors include personality traits like submissiveness, defiance, hostility, lack of self-control, impulsiveness, emotional conflict and feeling of insecurity. The situational factors may be sub-divided into five groups such as, family, companions, school environment, work environment and movies. Among these the family is considered to be the most significant factor in the development of juvenile crime. Class, status, power group relations and class mobility, are also directly or indirectly related to the family environment. Even the psychological theories and therapies are also concerned with the causation of crime in early childhood experience, emotional deprivations and child-rearing processes, which influence the formation of the personality and the development of attitudes values, and a lifestyle.

Family environment producing criminal behaviour may be analysed with reference to a broken home, family tension, parental rejection, parental control and family economies. A normal family is described as one which is structurally complete in which both parents are alive, functionally adequate economically secure and morally strong. A family is abnormal if it lacks any of these characteristics. The broken family; where one parent is absent because of the parental separation divorce or death, fails to provide affection and control to the child. It has been found in many of the studies about juvenile crimes that a major number of criminals than non-criminals were found from broken homes.

Family tension is also a major contribution factor to a criminal behaviour. Family tension results from hostility and hatred. The youngster does not feel secure and content in the tension-filled family environment. Log-term tension reduces family cohesiveness and affects parent’s ability to provide a conducive atmosphere to satisfactory child-rearing and family problems solving. Cohesive homes produce fewer criminals whereas homes tension and hostility existed are good breeding groups for future criminals.

Parental rejections or emotional deprivation had much to do with the juvenile crimes in the Indian society. It is a rejection or a neglected child does not find love and affection as well as support and supervision at home, he will often resort to groups of a deviant nature outside the home, he will often resort to the groups of deviant nature outside the family. Many significant Indian studies done in this concern have found that in the Indian families; mutual rejection of parents and child markedly affects positive relationship and can ultimately result in criminal behaviour. Further, they have found that there is a lack of adequate conscience in the illiterate parents combined with feelings of hostility and rejection for the children that leads to aggression in the children.

Emotional instability and behavioural disturbance in one or both of the parents also led to a child’s criminal behaviour. The child of the parents who are constantly in conflict often exploits the situation and gets away with a great deal of misbehaviour. Family economics is also an important contributing variable in the juvenile crimes. A family’s inability to provide for the material needs of the child can create insecurity and affect the amount of control that the family exerts over the child, because he often seeks material support and security outside the home. The economic condition of the family can be one the many contributing factors in a multi problem family. Just as a broken home, family tension and parental rejection can affect the capability of the family structure, methods of parental control or forms of discipline also can play a part in the development of criminal behaviour.

Family is an institution that needs greater attention. The role of functionally inadequate families, structurally incomplete or broken families, poor families, immoral families and undisciplined families in juvenile crime has a lot of importance. Unless these disorganized families are re-organized and environment therapy is provided, frustrated and emotionally disturbed children cannot be prevented from developing a relationship with criminals. There is a deliberate need to fasten the loose strings of control of education, economy and environment in the Indian society in the present scenario. There has to be a watch over the children where they are heading to and what kind of environment they are exposed to. The duty and the greater responsibility lies on the parental side that how they have decided to brought up their children, how much quality time they are giving to their children and how much importance they delegate to the future of their children. The Family is the corner stone of the Indian society, it works as the uniting agent and the building block of the personality of the individual and moreover in India, family has already been given much of significance for shaping up an individual for a better society. Thus, family values, parental education, role of the parents and family economic should be brushed up in order to prevent the children from establishing criminal tendencies in them.

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