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1.1 Background to the Study
Nearly every society since the dawn of history has looked on youth crime as a serious problem and our society is not different. The underlining philosophy of Juvenile Justice as the history of child welfare in Nigeria became very interesting and a concern for all because it touches the whole society, home/family and all stakeholders. Sociologists have argued that deviant behaviour is a product of the social environment (Adegoke, 2015). The social environment which produces the behaviour might be primary for instance, family and peer group or secondary. For instance, the Society.
This study considered how both the primary and secondary social environments cause juvenile delinquency. Although, the issue of juvenile delinquency is an age long problem, it seems that the juvenile delinquency of the past cannot be compared with that of the present era. The anti-social behaviour often associated with juveniles includes drug abuse, weapon carrying, rape, examination malpractices, school violence, bullying, cultism to mention but a few. Kudirat, Nsisong, Abayomi, Felicia and Leonard, (2010), were of the view that unless something is done to correct the wave of juvenile delinquency, the prospect of a better, safer, more prosperous and crime free society emerging in Nigeria will remain elusive.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act 2015 Section 2 (35) defined Juvenile “as a child below the age of eighteen years (18). In other words, a juvenile is a minor below the legal age (depending on the country) who cannot be held accountable for his\her criminal behaviour.”
Delinquency is an unwelcomed action, omission or moral behaviour of a Juvenile which is socially not permitted in any society. Hermann (2012) defined delinquency as any “act and conduct which violates the law only when it is committed by children” Siroh (2010) on the other hand, defined juvenile delinquency as an anti-social act that is illegal or criminalistics in nature, done persistently by a minor and cannot be handled by the parent or guardian but requires the help of law enforcement agencies as the act threatens the well-being of the society. This is because the punishment for crime committed by both adults and juveniles are not often the same (Moffitt, 2006). However, Dantiye and Haruna (2004), perceive delinquency and crime as deviant behaviours that are morally, economically and socially constructed. In other words, delinquency has been variously portrayed and defined as a condition of drift, maladjustment, pathology, disturbance, moral depravity and unruly behaviour.
Although, in the nineteenth century, the juvenile delinquent was created in the midst of wider concerns about unemployment, lack of discipline and moral degeneration. Juvenile delinquency is the participation in illegal behaviour by minors (individuals younger than the statutory age of majority (Siegel, Larry Welsh, Brandon, 2011). It is viewed as the resistant antisocial, illegal or criminal behaviour by children or adolescent to the level that it cannot be controlled by the parents and it endangers others in the community and becomes the concern of most law enforcement agencies.
The term juvenile delinquency became prominent in many countries so that young law breakers could avoid disgrace of being classified in illegal records as criminals. There seems to be no doubt that various experts have established many theories on the causes and consequences of juvenile delinquency. Baro and Jumalludin, 2005, were of the opinion that modernization has been a party responsible for creating many forms and types of crime.
Based on the confusion over what constitute appropriate behaviour as expected by young people, certain conducts have been identified as a delinquent for juveniles. Such behaviours includes: running away from home, stealing, bullying, drinking alcohol amongst many other such behaviours which are prohibited in the society (Dantiye and Haruna, 2004).
The Nigerian constitution of 1999 as amended, defines juvenile delinquency as “a crime committed by a young person under the age of 18 years as a result of trying to comply with the wishes of his peers or to escape from parental pressure or certain emotional stimulation”. However, before a youth in Nigeria can be classified a delinquent, he must have been arraigned before a Juvenile court and proved to be guilty of some offences. Such offences like habitual truancy, drug addiction, prostitution, stealing, cultism and arm robbery to mention just a few.
The causes of Juvenile delinquency are multiple and include peer pressure, parental neglect, parental imitation, genetic or biological factors, poor education, lack of opportunities, media violence, poverty, divorce and child abuse (Miguel, 2017). This has great consequences on the juvenile as well as the society as a whole.
The juvenile who commits a crime suffers effects that he or she is probably unable to predict. Some of them end up being incarcerated in remand homes and borstal homes serving punishment for offenses they have committed. Others miss school and end up dropping out from school. While in other cases, those in remand homes are exposed to unhealthy relationships with other delinquents, who may be more involved in criminality. In the long run, such interaction may likely lead to recidivism thereby making the juvenile a perpetual offender and he or she can be tried and sentenced as an adult.
The consequences of Juvenile delinquency in Nigerian society are not only devastating but enormous. They destroy both lives and properties and they also retard the growth and development of the country.
Juvenile delinquency has also contributed to the bad image of our country Nigeria. For the fact that most of the delinquent want to get rich quick, corruption and ritual killing has become the order of the day, advance fee fraud and other type of cybercrimes, do or die politics where thuggery and fighting is the norm. These and many other consequences of delinquency have had drastic effect on the political, social and economic reputation of the Nation.
This study thus seek to understand the social causes and consequences of juvenile delinquency in Kaduna North Local Government Area and detected how the tradition of street begging that is prevalent in the study area has contributed to the increasing number of juvenile delinquents in the area of study, bearing in mind the importance of identifying the social causes and consequences in order to proffer possible ways of making the community juvenile delinquent free.
1 .2 Statement of the Research Problem
Millions of people worldwide, even in countries once considered relatively safe, seem to have a haunting fear of crime and violence in recent times. The once cherished sense of personal safety appears antiquated and national security is being supplemented by deep anxiety and global terrorism. In its 2008 report about the state of children and crime, United Nations children fund (UNICEF) noted that increase numbers of young Nigerians are getting involved in criminality (UNICEF, 2008).
The growing concerns over the increasing juvenile crime rate have led to an extensive research into the various factors that may lead young adults to engage in illegal behaviour. George (2007) observes that over the past ten years, the number of Juvenile court cases have doubled in West Africa. The alarming increase in destructive acts amongst youths is evident in the high number of dropout, cybercrime, teenage pregnancies, drug abuse and the increase in teenage crimes committed.
Hence, there is little doubt that juvenile violence is currently a prevalent issue and concern in the criminal justice field and there is a vital need for improvement in the effectiveness of rehabilitation programmes for juvenile offenders. In Nigeria today, the fear of crime permeates every aspect of human lives. This includes violent crimes such as aggravated robberies, rape, drug abuse, hijacking and bank heists, which are mainly committed by juvenile.
As it stands presently in Kaduna state, the trend is on the increase as young boys and girls drop out from school to engage in the act of stealing and burglary, robbery, prostitution, kidnapping and so many other criminal acts. Therefore, the alarming rate of increasing juvenile delinquent acts in our secondary schools requires so much attention, which this work will try to unravel. In other to proffer possible solutions to this problems, there is a need to understand its causes and consequences. It is against this background that this study had identified the social causes and consequences of juvenile delinquency in order to proffer useful recommendations that will help create a society with responsible juveniles who apparently will become great leaders of tomorrow.
1.3 Research Questions
Based on the above problems identified, this study shall seek to answer the following questions.
(a) What are the causes of juvenile delinquency among secondary school students Kaduna North Local government area?
(b) What are the social consequences of juvenile delinquent among the students act in the area of study?
(c) What are the influences of street begging on juvenile act in the area of study?
(d) What is the trend of juvenile delinquency in secondary schools within Kaduna North Local government area?
1.4 Aims and Objectives of the Study
The main objective of the study is to find out the social causes and consequences of juvenile delinquency in some selected secondary schools in Kaduna North Local Government Area.
The specific objectives are to:
(a) Identify the causes of juvenile delinquency among secondary school students in Kaduna North Local Government Area.
(b) Examine the social consequences of juvenile delinquent among secondary school students in Kaduna North local government area.
(c) Determine the influence of street begging on juvenile act in the study area.
(d) Examine the trend of juvenile delinquency in secondary schools within the area of study.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study critically looked at the social causes and consequences of juvenile delinquency. It serves as a tool that will help the society and the government understand their roles in creating a society that is juvenile delinquently free. Theoretically, this study has added to the body of knowledge as it is beneficial to learning and development processes and help our youth to be aware of those behaviours that may lead them to delinquent acts in order to avoid them. This study will also help parents, guardian, and sponsors etc. to know how to guide their wards in order to prevent them from so called delinquent acts.
Practically, this study will go a long way to unleash government role in educating our juvenile and preventing them from future delinquent acts. This study is also significant because it seeks to determine the extent juvenile commit crime, why they commit delinquent acts and the consequences of such acts on them and the society at large.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study was conducted among some secondary schools students and teachers in some selected secondary school within Kaduna North Local Government Area. The study shall also cover parents and guardians within Kaduna North Local Government Area.
1.7 Definitions of terms
Causes: Persons or things that give rise to action(s), phenomenon, or condition, a principle, aim or movement to which one is committed. (Oxford Dictionary)
Consequences: This simply means a result of something that has happened.
Juvenile: This refers to person who has attained the age of fourteen but is under eighteen years. That is, a young person who is not yet an adult (Oxford English Dictionary).
Delinquent: It is a person who deviates from or violated that stipulated law that guides code of conduct of a particular country or society.
Juvenile Delinquency: is defined as any social deviation by a youth from the societal norms which result in his contact with law enforcement agents. It is an act committed by a young person who violated the stipulated law of that country or society.
Burglary: It is defines as a crime of entering a building illegally and stealing things from it.
Robbery: It is defined as a crime of stealing money or goods from a bank, shop/store, person etc. especially using violence or threat.
Rape: This simply means a crime of forcing somebody to have sex with him/her especially using threat or violence.
Stealing: This means an act of taking something from a person’s without permission and without intending to return it or pay for it.
Truancy: This means a practice of staying away from school without permission. It is a crime to juvenile.
Disobedience: This is defined as a failure or refusing to do what a person, law, order stipulates.
Homicide: This simply means a crime of killing somebody deliberately.
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