What would drive a child to commit a heinous crime like murder or rape ? How do we, as a society, reconcile with the fact that a study conducted by the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights in June 2017 found that “70% of convicted juveniles were unaware of the consequences of their criminal acts."
While poverty has always bred resentment, and is often the root-cause of many crimes; more recently, a fast-changing society has brought with it other insecurities. Children today, even children from high-income families, are most affected by parents neglecting them, and this sheer ignorance on the parents' part often manifests as crimes committed by the juveniles.
Most debates today centre around the age of criminality. But activists, NGOs, and psychiatrists who work closely with juvenile offenders believe the dialogue should focus instead on why youngsters are being drawn into crime in the first place, and what could be done to prevent this.
Taking this cue, organisations like Muskaan place a strong emphasis on prevention through counselling . Their workshops and training sessions engage with all stakeholders, including parents, teachers, police, and other state agencies, so as to develop a strong support system for these issues.
Over the past few years itself, they have sensitised more than 14000 children and adults and dealt with 128 cases of abuse through our counselling and legal programmes.