Justice and Delinquency Prevention

These needs were identified as the presence of a safe and secure environment for the girl, without the threat of abuse, violence or trauma, the provision of love, respect, warmth, trust from primary sources of care, timely and safe development of sexuality, a sense of belonging, kinship, friendship and identification with other female youth and Positive female role models. These needs are offset by risk factors that contribute to a higher likelihood for young girls to commit an offense.

These risk factors include previous instances of abuse both within and outside the family, previous substance abuse, early sexual encounters and teenage pregnancy, poor academic performance, family conflict and instability and mental health problems. The differences in male and female coping mechanisms for strenuous life situations were also considered, since males tend to express their pain outwardly and in a violent form while females tend to internalize the pain which may lead to psychological and behavioral problems that society is not often called to address.

In view of these risks and needs, gender-specific program principles were enumerated that should serve as guides for the formulation of said programs. Guiding principles included the consideration of all the special needs of young girls’ development as presented earlier and the presence of mentors, a strengths-based and individualistic assessment and intake process and alternative education and relationship-building opportunities.

Strategies and key project components that would comprise a comprehensive and gender-responsive program were also presented in various researches. The systematic nature and interconnectedness of the risks and needs of young girls called for a comprehensive approach to solving the problem of female juvenile delinquency.

These key strategies and components include institutionalization of intensive mental health facilities, training of staff to address gender-specific needs and problems of young girls, the provision of special health services for teenage mothers and pregnant teens, lifeskills and vocational training for the female juvenile delinquents, representative program staff from various ethnic groups and preferably all female, and the presence of family and community-supported mechanisms for reintegration and aftercare services. References: Acoca, L. (1999). Investing in girls: a 21st century strategy. Journal of the Office of Juvenile

Justice and Delinquency Prevention , 3-14. Chapman, S. (2005). Moderate and high-risk residential programming for girls. Florida: Office of Research and Planning, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. FREELAVA. (2005). Guidelines for a Community-Based Diversion and Prevention Programme for Children in Conflict with the Law. Quezon City, Philippines: Save the Children UK Philippines Programme. girls, P. C. (2008). Portrait of risk: a snapshot of PACE girls using gender-sensitive risk factors. Retrieved February 22, 2008, from PACE Center for Girls: http://www. pacecenter. org/POR%202007. pdf

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