Teenage and young adult years are tough years and have proven to be challenging times. The teenagers are undergoing puberty, and at this period peer pressure is at its peak. While other children are playing basketball, singing in the church choir and going to proms, others are committing crimes. States have different age limits when it comes to classifying whether the offender is a juvenile. Most of the states have set the age limit at seventeen years while other countries set it as low as fourteen years old. The different age limits, however, are in agreement that some juveniles fall below the age of eighteen years old. Crime refers to actions that are against the laws and can include simple actions like taking candy from a store without paying, cybercrime, robbery and even murder.
Offenses committed by juvenile offenders is going down, and the best way to measure this is by taking the arrest statistics, victims reports and self-reports of an offense. When these sources are analyzed, then the trend is established. Reports have shown that juvenile arrests have dropped (Matt, 2015, para. 5). In 2010 the juvenile arrests dropped down twenty percent compared to 2001. In the United States, children are not sheltered from violence and victimization, and these types of exposure differ. It has become important to protect juveniles from victimization, and this can be possible through establishing and maintaining standards for the care of children and youths. There is also the need to develop community activities that engage the children and their families.
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Victimization disrupts the development of a child and leads to some problems in the life of a child. Victimization can result in mental health concerns, substance abuse, impaired relationships and even suicide. The criminal justice system has found a way to control the level of crime committed by juveniles. Correctional systems that focus on children’s welfare are now in place and are operational (Latessa & Smith, 2015, p.1). The youth victim justice system comprises a complex set of agencies that includes policies, civil courts and the main aim of this scheme is to provide protection and advocating for the child’s rights. Reports to the relevant authorities about juvenile victimization mostly come from the victims or the family members. Juvenile victims require assistance from professional who can guide and support them during their involvement with the justice system.
Juvenile victimization goes unnoticed, and the public’s view sealed while offenders and abusers go unidentified (Sickmund & Puzzanchera, 2014, p.25). Court hearings determine the validity of the allegations. A child protection system is, therefore, essential to prevent future maltreatment and offers preventive and remedial services like counseling and family support. States have come up with systems that compensate victims of crime for costs associated with medical care, counseling and obtaining compensation. Restorative justice is a program that is considered as a sign of hope and direction into the future because it helps in understanding juvenile offenders and reforming them (Bazemore, & Schiff, 2015, p.7). Many countries embrace this kind of change since it provides choices which are alongside the existing legal system.
- Bazemore, G., & Schiff, M. (2015). Restorative community justice: Repairing harm and transforming communities. New York, NY: Routledge.
- Latessa, E. J., & Smith, P. (2015). Corrections in the Community (6th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
- Matt, S. (2015, Feb 26). NCJJ Report Shows Juvenile Crime Keeps Falling, But Reasons Elusive. Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. Retrieved from http://jjie.org/2015/02/26/ncjj-report-shows-juvenile-crime-keeps-falling-but-reasons-elusive/
- Sickmund, M., & Puzzanchera, C. eds. (2014). Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2014 National Report. Pittsburgh, PA: National Center for Juvenile Justice.