When most people think of a juvenile delinquent, they picture a young male committing petty crimes as he works through a stage of raging hormones and rebellion.
However, the latest crime statistics show that nearly four out of ten juvenile arrests involve females; a significant growth in the last decade.
General description of a female juvenile delinquent
The typical young female offender is 13 to 18 years of age and probably at risk of failing out of school. She may be a member of a racial or ethnic minority group, and her family may have a low socioeconomic status. She could have a history of repeated physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Her family life is likely unstable, and she has very few closely bonded relationships. She may suffer from mental health issues, alcohol abuse or substance use disorders as well.
Common crimes of female offenders
Juveniles who grow up in chaos without a foundational understanding of pro-social behavior tend to act out in an unacceptable manner. While charges of robbery, sexual assault or weapons violations are more typical of male offenders, some of the most common criminal activities among young females include:
- disorderly conduct
- theft by shoplifting
- violent assault
- alcohol and drug crimes
Courts often show mercy to young offenders, allowing them opportunities to learn, grow and change their negative behaviors before reaching adulthood.
Criminal activity in the adolescent and teen years can have a lasting impact on the rest of a young person’s life. While not every female juvenile offender shares the exact same characteristics, it is important to recognize and address common risk factors early.