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After studying and compiling data, the academe, social institutions, federal and local government have produced a likely profile of a female youth offender. These characteristics do not apply to every single female youth offender, but each one is likely to exhibit unique characteristics and a few found in this list: • 14-16 years of age and may be a difficult child to handle for her parents • Lives in an impoverished household which is within a community that exhibits a high crime rate

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• Comes from an ethnic or cultural group • Has exhibited low grades and poor academic records or may not even be in school • Is a victim of several, if not one form of abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, psychological) or has been exploited and harassed • Has experienced substance abuse • Suffers from medical and mental health problems that have never been addressed • Has a negative outlook in life and the future (Peters, 2004)

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It must be noted, however, that though these characteristics do paint a very grim picture of female youth, direct causation and incidence of crime does not always follow in a girl with these problems. Resiliency, which is the ability of an individual to adapt to strenuous and difficult situations and surmount them to become productive, competent and socially-responsible, is also a characteristic that may be present even in young girls.

Though the odds are against them and they exhibit all of the factors listed above, some girls are able to survive all these difficulties without breaking the law. Specific Needs of Female Juvenile Delinquents Focus on child and youth development especially in the context of deviance and juvenile delinquency and parens patriae have brought about the institutionalization of the juvenile justice system. However, current trends dictate the addition of another dimension in examining youth crime.

Adapting gender to considerations in intake, assessment, rehabilitation and aftercare call for research into the differences in male and female youth. Long-existing and standard programs present for juvenile delinquents cater mostly to the needs of male youth. Programs have been structured this way because of earlier years’ experience with the high incidence of male youth offense and low incidence of that of female-perpetrated youth crime. With the rise in female arrests and youth crime, comes further difficulty for females to handle the risks of offense.

Since the profile of female juvenile delinquents ascribed the age of 14-16, it may be inferred that puberty or adolescence provided a critical turning point for most girls in dealing with their life situations. Adolescence experienced by young girls also added another layer of problems and considerations in a female youth’s already strenuous life. Changes in her emotions, body and relationships often impede her decision-making skills or create much confusion especially if she is not under constant care and supervision of her family and friends.

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Kylie Garcia

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