Commit crime

Given the presence of the risk factors and special needs mentioned above, various studies have presented many guiding principles that should aid in formulating programs for delinquent girls. One distinct feature of a program addressing female juvenile delinquency in both the rehabilitation and prevention aspect should be its comprehensiveness and coherence, with a goal that tries to address all the risk factors and special needs previously enumerated (Peters, 2004).

The risk and factors must be contextualized within a gender framework that will approach the problem of female juvenile delinquency not only as a child and youth development problem but also as a gender-based problem. Gender in the context of juvenile delinquency must highlight the inequalities that young girls experience because of patriarchy and socialization as well as the differences they experience as opposed to young boys. Girls commit crime for different reasons and because of different circumstances than boys.

The reasons and circumstances for girls to commit crime are often interconnected by causation and correlation, thus a comprehensive approach to the problem is needed. Gender-specific programs also go beyond using gender as a lens in analyzing and addressing female juvenile delinquency. Prevention through educational programs and awareness-raising in young girls address the lack of coping skills and resiliency that most girls experience and often push them to committing crime (Peters, 2004).

Several sets of guiding principles have been presented by various government and non-government agencies and the academe to produce a gender-specific program for female youth offenders. The Valentine Foundation posited the following principles: • Provision of safe and secure venue separate from male youth • Provision of time and opportunity to talk, communicate and develop healthy relationships with other girls and women in their lives • Tap the strengths of girls instead of the problems faced

• Mentors who aim to develop intimate and trusting relationships with the girls and are aware of their special needs, risks and coping mechanisms • Education on gender, sexuality and health issues and concerns along with relevant contributions and experiences of women • Provision of opportunities to enact change or become a change agent in her own life. • Participatory development in program planning, implementation and evaluation • Sustainable funding and grants

Another set of guidelines is proposed by Peters who includes the previously-mentioned principles but include the importance of individualism, self-esteem, future orientation and family/community support in rehabilitation and prevention of female youth crime. These guidelines seek to emphasize the relevance of a supportive community and family in the development of responsible and competent female youth with confidence and a positive outlook in life. These additional guidelines also seek to address the need for girls to determine and search for their own identity during the crucial time of adolescence.