Criminal acts of young persons are referred to broadly as juvenile delinquency. In some countries delinquency includes conduct that is antisocial, dangerous, or harmful to the goals of society. The age at which juveniles legally become adults varies from country to country, but it generally ranges from 15 to 18.
In Belarus, however, the age of criminal responsibility begins at 16 but if we speak about serious crimes like murder, rape and others, the age of criminal responsibility begins at 14.
2. Why a young person can become an offender?
Delinquent acts begin at about age of 10 or 11; the most serious activities peak at 14 or 15 years of age and then begin to decline for the next several years.
Some psychologists and sociologists believe that some people are genetically disposed to crime. Scientists have noted certain physical and personality differences between delinquents and non-delinquents. Delinquents have been found to have sturdier bodies and to act in a more aggressive way than non-delinquents. In their personality traits, delinquents are more extroverted, narcissistic, and impulsive, and less able to delay the satisfaction of desires. Some psychologists believe that there is an inherited flaw in the genetic make-up of a criminal that leads to rejection of society’s standards.
Studies in Great Britain have shown that delinquents tend to come from families where there is tension and much difficulty in interpersonal relationships. Family breakdown is also found to be a significant factor.
In the United States, Europe, and Japan, most delinquents are boys, though since the early 1980s the number of delinquents who are girls has risen dramatically. Most of these in the United States come from the lower middle class and the poorest segments of society. One reason for this is the low esteem in which education is often held in these groups.