INCIDENCE OF JUVENILE DELINQUENCY AMONG FEMALE SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS (A CASE STUDY OF BENIN CITY)
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
The choice of this topic came just at the right time when female involvement in criminal acts and juvenile delinquency has reached an alarming rates. It is completely impossible to talk of a society free from juvenile delinquency. Juvenile delinquency has long been recognized and wide spread problem in the country. Children of under 18 years involving themselves in criminal activities together with the adult counterpart, but because these children have not attained maturity, which is 18 years in Nigeria, they cannot be regarded as criminal. But rather they are referred to as juvenile delinquents (Cohen, 1995).
As has been observed earlier, juvenile delinquency is a term demoting various offenses committed by children or youths under the age of 18. Children’s offenses typically include delinquent acts that would be considered crimes if committed by adults and status offenses, which are less serious misbehaviour such as truancy and parental disobedience. Both are within the jurisdiction of the juvenile count, more serious offenses committed by minors may be tried in criminal court and be subject to prison sentences (Igbinovia, Okonofua, Omoyibo, Osunde and Obaro, 2005). The recent increase in female involvement in deviant acts have reached unprecedented height that fear grips the populace of this country as to worth pointing out that in Nigeria where violet crimes by female are fast the delinquent is no longer desprised or seen as a deviant but is highly respected and advertised. They are the glamour girls. Juvenile delinquency cases are those referred to juvenile courts for acts defined in the status of the state as violation of status law.
Since ancient times enlightened legal system have distinguished between juvenile delinquents and adult criminals. The immature generally were not considered morally responsible for their behavior under the code Napoleon in France for example; limited responsibility was ascribed to children under the age of 16. Despite the apparent humanity of some early status, however, the punishment of juvenile offenders until the 19th century was often serve. In Nigeria like in the US, many child criminals were treated as adult criminals. In many instances, child offenders were processed through the adult courts, sentences for all offenders could be harsh and the death penalty was occasionally imposed. The first institution expressly for juvenile, the House of Refuge, was founded in New York city in 1824 so that institutionalized delinquents could be kept apart from adult criminals. By the mid-19th century other state institution for juvenile delinquents were established, and their population soon included not only young criminals but also less serious offenders and dependent children (Obaro, 2008).
The concept of study is as a result of the astonished effect of the problem of delinquency caused by juveniles coupled with its associated problems. I decided to carry out a detailed survey of delinquent female student in selected female secondary school in Oredo Local Government Area since our society has for long been plagued into social problems such as poverty, exploitation man by man, child base and neglect, problem of the aged, drug abuse, prostitution, truancy, rape incest, burglary, stealing and juvenile delinquency.
Juvenile delinquency has long been in existence with it wide spread problem in the country. These children engage themselves in arininal activities together with adult but because they have not reach maturity age which is 18 years, therefore, they are referred to as juvenile. These children are sometimes beyond parental control, they wonder about and become delinquency (Obaro, 2008). A juvenile is typically defined as some one between the age of 7 and 17 and three types of juvenile come under the courts youthful offenders are those who engage in behavior for which adults can be tried in a criminal court. All predatory crimes are included here. The second type is the status offender, these who violate the juvenile court code rather than the criminal code. Behavior such as truancy running away from home and breaking the curfew is included here. Finally, the court deals with minors in need of care those who are neglected or abused and in need of the court’s care. These juveniles do not fall into the juvenile court. The range of behavior defined as delinquent tends to be broad perhaps as many as percent of all young people have engage in behavior that would fall under the jurisdiction of juvenile court (Obaro, 2008).
Although juvenile comes in different ways, at different times and in different sector. So, for the purpose of this work, I will only consider and limit my study to female student in selected secondary school in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria as a developing country needs to look inward in issues like these so as to enable appropriate policies to be taken to reduce and control juvenile delinquencies because if not checked properly, these children will not be useful to themselves and the society at large.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Juvenile delinquency has reached an alarming rate. Juvenile delinquency has long been recognized and wide spiral problem, in the country. Hence this study is to determine the various factors that causes juvenile delinquency in the society and the negative effect it has on the child and the society at large. A situation were children of under 18 years involving themselves in criminal activities together with the adult counterpart, but because these children have not attained maturity which is 18 in Nigeria, they do not refer them as criminals.
1.3 PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study is to determine the prevalent delinquent behaviours among female secondary school students – in relation to social economic factors and religion factors and to determine the factors influencing them. The specific objectives of the study are:
i. To determine whether socio-economic status of the parents influence juvenile delinquency of female students.
ii. To determine whether religious affiliation influences delinquent behaviours.
iii. To determine whether living environment influence delinquency of female student.
iv. To determine whether family background influence the behavior of female juvenile delinquents.
v. To prevent juvenile delinquency/prefer solutions to the problem of juvenile delinquency among females.
1.4 SCOPE OF STUDY
This study covers female juvenile students in secondary schools in Benin City the female students within the age bracket of 12 to 17 years of age.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The study will be of benefit to children’s parents, policy makers and government. It will also be of benefit to children and caregivers as they will be exposed to factors necessitating delinquency among female students or children and taking measures to avoid it. Government and policy makers will also benefit as the contribution from this study will help introduce new measures of presenting and eradicating delinquency among female student Couples will benefit from this study in that it will give them the knowledge on how to socialize their children and make them have regards for social norms.
Ho1: Socio economic status of parents will not influence juvenile delinquency of female students
Ho2: Religious affiliation will not influence juvenile delinquency of female students
Ho3: Family background will not influence juvenile delinquency of female student
Ho3: Living environment will not influence juvenile delinquency of female students.
1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Deviant Behaviour: Is socially defined and varies by time, place and social group. Behavior that is defined as deviant violate strongly held social norms. However, what is seen as a deviant behavior in one society, may be regarded as a behavior that is acceptable in another society.
Juvenile: A juvenile is a young person that falls under the age of 18, whose attitude/behavior is seen as a delinquent act. But, if such behavior is exhibited by an adult is seen as a crime.
Juvenile Delinquency: These are the behavior of young people showing the tendency to commit crime. In other word, juvenile delinquency are behavior exhibited by children under the age of 18 that does not conform to societal norms, and if committed by an adult is crime and attract several punishment as stated by the law.
Female: This is a woman/girl that can give births to another child.
Student: This is any person who is studying at a school for the purpose of acquiring knowledge for the betterment of higher future and that of the society.
Female Student: A woman/girl that is studying at a school for the purpose of gaining knowledge to herself and to better the society.
Delinquency: Bad/criminal behavior that is usually associated with young people. Delinquency is a behavior of a person under the age of 18 that does not conform to society accepted norms of the society.
Socio Economic Status: Socio economic status shows that various strata/level that an individual is located in the society. In other word, it is the class position of a person which can either be upper class, middle class and lower class.
Religion Affiliation: These is the belief that is perculiar to a religion that is the doctrine that guides the affairs of members in a particular type of religion.
Living Environment: This is the area in which an individual, group live which can either be urban, rural or city. That is, a place where people live and get their basic needs.
Family Background: These is the units in which an individual is born into which can either be nuclear family, polygamous etc. activities of family background can be traced by generation.
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